Despite their eventual fallout, baby teeth play an essential role in everyday life of children and serve a vital role in the overall development of the oral cavity such as the mouth and the permanent teeth.
Why Are Baby Teeth Important?
Baby teeth are necessary as they aid in the chewing and biting of food of growing children, making digestion easier for them. These functions are pivotal in the healthy development of the normal jaw function with each tooth functioning in certain ways such as the incisors for cutting food and taking small bites, canines for crushing and tearing food, and the molars for chewing, grinding and breaking.
Additionally, baby teeth aid in the speech of children. They, along with the tongue, mouth, and lips, help kids form words by controlling the air flow out of the mouth. Moreover, certain sounds are created when their tongue moves and strikes the teeth in various ways.
More importantly, baby teeth are an essential foundation for adult teeth. When baby teeth develop and fall out the right way, they create space and guide for the permanent teeth to emerge.
If baby teeth were lost sooner than expected, there would be a tendency that the teeth beside it will move and shift to fill the gap left by the tooth. When such happens, the permanent tooth will have a difficult time coming out due to the lack of space, causing crooked or crowded teeth.
Smiling is natural. In fact, 3D ultrasound images of developing babies suggest that even before people come out of their mother’s womb, they already know how to smile which carries on in their sleep when they are born.
Also, children are known to smile as much as 400 times a day, making baby teeth all the more important in building their self-esteem. A complete and healthy set of teeth makes children more akin to smiling and socializing with their peers.
Overall Health and Development
Keeping baby teeth healthy saves children from suffering from tooth pain and discomfort due to tooth decay and cavities.
Additionally, having a healthy set of baby teeth free children from an infection that may develop on the gums and surrounding teeth that may eventually spread to other parts of the body and cause disease and weaken the immune system.
How Does Baby Teeth Appear?
Baby teeth come out usually between six months to one year following the birth of the baby. However, there may be variance in age as to when the primary teeth will start to emerge and the number of teeth that will come out at a given time.
Often, the first baby teeth to emerge are the two front bottom teeth, followed by the two front upper teeth. Baby teeth will usually come out two at a time that by age three, a set of 20 baby teeth have appeared.
Baby teeth may have spaces between them which is perfectly normal as these spaces help make room for the emergence of the permanent teeth in the future.
How To Care For Baby Teeth?
Caring for baby teeth starts even before the first tooth emerges. Parents are advised to wipe the gums of their kids using a clean and damp washcloth or gauze. Here’s how to clean the gums using a washcloth or gauze.
When the baby teeth come out, parents can start using a soft toothbrush to clean them. The toothbrush must have soft polished nylon bristles. If the bristles are not soft enough, soak them in warm water for a few minutes. It is recommended to use a toothbrush that is designed for children such as it has a small head and grip.
By age two, parents can use fluoridated toothpaste to supplement the cleaning of the teeth. However, be careful on the amount of fluoride that goes with the brushing. Children are only advised to use a fluoridated toothpaste with fluoride lower than 1,000 parts per million in a small amount such as the size of the baby’s pinky fingernail. Here’s how to brush a baby’s teeth:
It will be better to assist children in brushing their teeth to ensure that all parts of the mouth are cleaned. Additionally, replace their toothbrush regularly especially when the bristles start to shred or be worn out.
Aside from regular brushing, it is also important to bring kids to the dentist for a routine checkup. As early as six months, kids can already be brought to the dental clinic for their initial checkup. From then, the dentist can advise on the intervals of dental visits and ways to keep the baby teeth healthy such as the use of dental sealants.
It is imperative to have your child’s teeth check as early as possible to prevent problems in the development of the permanent teeth.
Other than the proper care, keeping children healthy through proper nutrition is a must to strengthen their immune system and be able to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. Sugary treats must be kept out of their diet as these can cause cavities on baby teeth. Additionally, pacifier use must be minimized as it can affect the alignment of the teeth.