While baby teeth are temporary, diligent at-home care alongside regular dental visits in early childhood can lead to lifelong oral health. Here, our Smiletown Burnaby dentists discuss the importance and impacts of early childhood dental care.
How important is early childhood dental care? Very, is the short answer.
The long answer is that early childhood dental care and at-home hygiene can prevent immediate oral health issues and foster lifelong oral health even though baby teeth (also called primary teeth) will eventually be replaced by permanent adult teeth.
Helps Prevent Cavities
Baby teeth are susceptible to cavities and tooth decay from the moment the first tooth erupts. This is because their enamel is much thinner than that of permanent teeth.
Even though baby teeth fall out over time (usually starting at the age of 6 and ending around the age of 13), preventing cavities and tooth decay and allowing baby teeth to fall out on their own schedule is incredibly important.
Tooth decay can spread deep into the tooth, causing discomfort, pain, and infection. There is a chance that the affected tooth will require extraction. Sometimes extreme primary tooth decay can damage the underlying permanent tooth!
Baby teeth also help to give shape to your child's face and guide your child's permanent teeth into place. If baby teeth are removed before they are "scheduled," your child's permanent teeth may not have enough room.
You can help prevent early childhood cavities and tooth decay and promote good oral health by helping your young child clean their mouth daily.
Check their teeth for white or brown spots which are early signs of decay.
Brush their teeth using a small, soft toothbrush with a little toothpaste and begin flossing as soon as your child has two teeth beside one another.
Helps Prevent Gum Disease
Children can develop gum disease just like adults.
To prevent infections of your child's gums, ensure you are cleaning your young child's mouth after meals with a soft face cloth even before their first tooth erupts.
Gum disease can be prevented using similar methods to tooth decay. In both cases, it is key to continue to encourage personal oral hygiene once your child can brush their own teeth
Encourages Lifelong Oral Health
It is recommended that a child have their first visit to the dentist around 6 months after their first tooth emerges, or at 1 year old.
Many children experience nervousness, fear, or boredom associated with dental offices. This can make them averse to dentist appointments.
By scheduling your child's first dental visit early and taking them for regular check-ups, you help your kid become comfortable with the dentist.
Regular dentist appointments also reduce the chances that kids develop significant oral health problems, avoiding the kinds of uncomfortable dental experiences which encourage negative associations with the dentist.
As children grow up, they may begin to view visiting the dentist as a positive experience, leading to regular visits throughout their life and healthier smile too!