Parents commonly ask why they should worry about cavities in baby teeth when they will be replaced by permanent teeth. The answer is that your child’s primary teeth play a vital role in her growth and development. They should not be neglected or left untreated simply because they will be lost one day. Neglect of decayed baby teeth can cause severe problems in future. It is also important to protect your child from painful decay of his/her baby teeth.
Just as permanent teeth are meant to last a lifetime, primary teeth are meant to last until the permanent teeth are ready to erupt. Underneath the baby tooth is a developing permanent tooth. Early loss of certain primary teeth will cause drifting of the teeth and loss of space for the permanent tooth. Also, the perimary teeth are used for chewing food properly. Too many teeth lost prematurely due to untreated decay will affect your child’s ability to chew. This may affect digestion and or nutrition. The primary teeth also assist in speech patterns. A healthy smile, good breath and strong teeth all contribute to promoting a positive self image.
Recommendations on how to take care of your child’s teeth.
Birth to 24 months
- Clean your baby’s mouth with guaze or cloth after feeding and at bedtime.
- Avoid putting your infant to bed with a bottle, unless filled with water.
- Regulate his/her feeding habits.
- Wean from the breast or bottle by his/her first birthday.
- Visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears or if his/her first tooth doesn’t erupt by age 1.
- Brush any teeth with a small, soft-bristled brush after feeding and at bedtime.
- Continue cleaning other areas of his/her mouth with guaze or cloth.
Ages 2-6 Years
- Continue responsibility for cleaning your child’s mouth, allowing her to participate according to interest and dexterity.
- Begin flossing in any areas where teeth are touching.
- Visit a pediatric dentist for professional cleanings.
Ages 6-12 Years
- Begin transferring responsibility for brushing and flossing to your child with parent supervision. age 8 is the average age a child can brush on his/her own and age 10 for flossing.
- Brush with the type of toothbrush and techniques recommended by your pediatric dentist.
- Sealants for permanent molars.
- If necessary, continue fluoride supplements as prescribed by his/her pediatric dentist.
Children of all Ages
- Change toothbrush every 3-4 months.
- Brush twice a day for two mintues after breakfast and before bed !!!
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