Many parents have many misconceptions of a baby’s first teeth and how they should be properly cared for. Baby teeth are often called milk teeth or primary teeth and they are the temporary teeth that end up falling out before a child is six years old. These teeth are often placed under children’s pillows for the tooth fairy! Below are four myths about baby teeth that every parent should know:
#1 Baby teeth aren’t important
A very common misconception that many parents have is that baby teeth are less important than permanent teeth because they are just going to fall out eventually. This is quite the opposite because baby teeth act as place-holders while a child’s teeth are growing in during their early development. They also help to maintain the proper structure of the mouth by providing a guide for permanent teeth to move in after them when it is time for them to grow in. But, if a baby tooth comes out too early it can lead to overcrowding of adult teeth.
#2 Cavities in baby teeth do not matter.
Dismissing baby teeth is just as bad as dismissing cavities because they are based upon the same idea that the tooth will eventually come out anyway. This leads parents to think that the care of baby teeth is unimportant. Cavities are a big issue because they are more than just a cosmetic issue and represent a deep underlying problem. Cavities can cause pain or discomfort for children and even abscess if left untreated. To make matters worse, cavities contain bacteria that has the ability to spread through the bloodstream and affect your child’s overall health.
#3 There’s no need to brush baby teeth.
A child’s teeth should begin to be brushed as soon as they start appearing. Doing this will this help prevent tooth decay as well as create a lifetime of good dental habits. Parents should even begin oral care before teeth appear to ensure that the baby teeth are growing into a healthy environment. A soft, damp rag rubbed over your baby’s gums reduces bacteria and helps emerging teeth get off to a great start.
#4 Kids don’t need to see a dentist until they are older.
A common problem with parents and their children is that they are not taken to the dentist until a problem is recognized. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that parents bring a child to their first dental visit as soon as the first tooth emerges or by their first birthday. If you establish that the dentist is not a scary place with your child early on, it will ensure that they have a more positive experience during their first visit and they are able to develop a trusting relationship with the dentist. Do you have questions about your baby’s teeth? Don’t hesitate to ask! We would love to talk to you about any questions or concerns you might have!