Whether your son or daughter is one week old or a year old, their dental health is vitally important. During the first year of life, a lot happens in the child’s mouth, namely the eruption of his or her first baby teeth.
While for the first few months the toothless grin of your baby may get you thinking that their dental care is a breeze. There’s no teeth, nothing to do or worry about, right?
While the baby teeth are the first set to come in, their care is important in ensuring that their incoming permanent teeth and overall oral health starts off on the right foot. It all starts before even the baby teeth come in.
Children can get cavities in their baby teeth. In fact, cavities are the number one preventable childhood disease. Many parents don’t see the importance of healthy baby teeth because they know that baby teeth will eventually fall out and be replaced with permanent teeth.
The neglect of baby teeth, however have dental health risks that can result in long-term oral health conditions for your child.
The following are potential dental complications that can occur because of baby teeth neglect:
Children, even babies consume meals high in sugar. Sugar reacts with the bacteria in the mouth to create a film over the teeth and gums called plaque. This plaque produces an acid that destroys the enamel of teeth. In children with teeth, the teeth can become decayed and get holes in the enamel. These cavities can then get inherited by the incoming permanent teeth growing in underneath them.
Bad breath is common for both adults and children. In children bad breath can be indicative of gum problems, diabetes, chronic sinusitis and digestive problems.
Bruxism, more commonly known as teeth grinding is common amongst children. Most often, this teeth grinding is involuntary. While Bruxism isn’t caused by poor oral hygiene, regular visits to the dentist will diagnose the problem early and the damage to the baby teeth as well as any accompanying pain can be minimized.
It is natural for toddlers to suck their thumbs. It is often a source of comfort as it is a natural response babies have in the womb. Prolonged thumb-sucking, such as thumb-sucking through preschool, however, can result in crooked front teeth, namely “buck-teeth” where the top, center teeth protrude outward over the teeth of the lower jaw. If the baby teeth grow in crooked or out of alignment, the probability is higher that the incoming permanent teeth will be crooked and misaligned as well. Costly and possibly multi-year orthodontic treatment may be required to correct the permanent teeth’s positioning.
Poor pediatric oral hygiene practices can also make children susceptible to gum disease. Gum disease can ultimately result in damage to the jaw bone and lost teeth if it isn’t treated. Gum disease can happen even in young children who have yet to have any teeth.
Parents want their little bundles of joy to be healthy and strong. This includes their oral health. To give your child a solid and strong foundation for a healthy mouth and a life of good oral health, early pediatric dental care is necessary.
There are simple things parents can do before their child has any teeth. Parents also play an important role in developing strong, routine at-home oral hygiene habits in their children as they grow up and get baby and adult teeth.