If you have (or have had) young children at home, there are often times when you think "Why bother? The will get new teeth anyway."
Why are baby teeth important?
Primary (or "baby") teeth start growing in the mouth during infancy. A child will usually have 20 baby teeth by the age of two. Secondary (or "adult") teeth will start erupting when a child is around 6 years of age. There are usually 32 adult teeth (including the 'wisdom' teeth). Australian data shows that around 42% of children aged 5 to 10 with dental decay in their baby teeth were more likely to have visited their dentist for a dental problem (68%) than for a check-up (36%).
Here are a four reasons why it is important to look after your child's baby teeth:
They need them for eating and proper speech development.
You are helping promote healthy oral care habits for life. This means less bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay and gum disease in the adult teeth.
Baby teeth hold space in the mouth for the adult teeth to grow through. If baby teeth are lost early, adult teeth are more likely to grow through crooked.
Self-confidence especially when they start school.
When should kids have their first dental visit?
Parents are highly recommended to take their children to the dentist as soon as they start growing teeth. This means that the child gets used to the dental clinic environment and will be less anxious when it is their turn to get a proper dental check-up. It also means we are:
able to work with the parents in creating health home oral care habits for their child, and also
monitor for early signs of dental decay or other dental anomalies.
How do I look after their teeth at home?
For many parents, it can be quite difficult to get your child to brush their teeth. Even my nephew (B2) makes it difficult for his mum (and I) to brush his teeth. We attempted several methods, such as:
cradling him in our arms and trying to distract him with other dental-related items
bribing him with new toy cars (which he is obsessed about)
brushing our own teeth whilst he brushed his (check it out @jacodental).
It wasn't until B2 had the "Truthbrush Tracker" on his toothbrush that he would willingly go and brush his teeth as well as let us help him. He would even point to us and say "Brush teeth" - meaning we should brush with him too. To B2's mum, it was a drastic change for the better. B2 now has a good tooth-brushing routine and our next challenge is to improve his technique!
Remember, your children need you to brush their teeth with them to maintain healthy, happy smiles.