THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF BABY TEETH
There’s an old wives’ tale that says, “It’s not important to take care of baby teeth because they’re going to fall out anyway.” Oh, how many parents wish that were truth! It’s hard enough for adults to remember good brushing/flossing habits let alone help their child as well. It’s time to take a look at some of the most popular myths surrounding baby teeth.
Myth #1: Baby Teeth Aren’t Important
While none of those 20 teeth will make it into your child’s teen or adult years, they are still crucial for the teeth they will have. Baby teeth serve as a placeholder and create the proper space for the permanent adult teeth to come in. They help prevent the adult teeth from becoming crowded or growing in crooked. Also, if a baby tooth has decay, it can pass the bacteria onto the adult tooth prior to the tooth coming in, causing problems for teeth later in life.
Myth #2: Cavities In Baby Teeth Don’t Matter
Baby teeth can get cavities just the same as you can. In fact, cavities have a tendency to run in the family. What’s worse is that it creates a double whammy. Children have cavities in their baby teeth are three times more likely to develop cavities as an adult. Allowing children to sleep with a bottle can cause the bacteria in sugar to sit on the teeth for 12-14 hours. Once the bacteria that causes a cavity is there it’s much harder to try to keep the teeth clean and prevent a further spread.
Myth #3: You Don’t Need To Brush or Floss Baby Teeth
Habits are formed early in life. It’s important to establish proper oral hygiene habits at a young age. Begin “brushing” the gums of your child’s mouth before the first tooth grows in. Try using a soft, wet cloth or gauze to rub the gums. Daily rubbing will help reduce bacteria currently on the gums and prevent problems as the baby teeth grow in. Once teeth appear it’s important to progress to fluorinated toothpaste. Kids don’t develop the dexterity they need to brush them until close to the 7 years old. Once two teeth touch, cavities can form. By only brushing the teeth, you miss out on where the bacteria primarily live.
Myth #4: Young Children Don’t Need To See A Dentist
The American Dental Association (ADA) states that children should visit the dentist by the time they get their first tooth, or at least by the age of one. Early dental check-ups help kids become comfortable around the dentist as well as having their teeth cleaned. Regular oral check-ups help warn of any potential problems. It also gives you as a parent the chance to have any questions answered.. Don’t wait until your child has a full set of primary teeth before bringing them in.
Need Any More Myths Debunked? We Can Help!
Proper oral hygiene begins after birth and sets your child up for the future. Call us today! We even have a special kids care program that’d we’d love to tell you about!
The Problems with Thumb Sucking
A common worry among parents is whether they should be concerned about their son or daughter’s use of a pacifier, or their thumb will have long-term effects on the child’s teeth. To help ease your concern, we will address when to start worrying about the habit. The sucking reflex is a very strong natural reflex that begins to develop while still in the womb. Sucking helps a child feel safe, secure, and calm. Studies have also shown that sucking may reduce the likelihood of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Generally speaking, as your child grows the habit and desire to use a pacifier or their thumb will start to decrease. Most children grow out of using a pacifier or their thumb when they become toddlers. If your child is still an avid thumb sucker around 4 years old however, then it is time to take a more drastic approach to kicking the habit.
Aggressive thumb sucking is often heard by a “popping” sound when the child removes his or her thumb. This vigorous sucking action, when prolonged, can lead to changes in the mouth and jaw development of the child. It can also cause future permanent teeth to develop and grow in crooked. A pacifier can create the same problems.
Breaking a pacifier habit is easier than the thumb sucking habit. When it’s time to break the behavior in a pacifier, it’s easier to throw away the pacifier and have them quit cold turkey. Each time your son or daughter looks for the pacifier redirect their attention to a different activity. In a few days they won’t have any more interest in them. Quitting the thumb however can be harder, since you can’t just throw the thumb away. Here are a few tips that might help:
- Peer pressure in school can help deter them from the action.
- Creating a rewards system that encourages and rewards positive behavior (not sucking)
- Plan activities that will keep your son or daughter’s hands busy during the day and cover their hands with socks at night
- Talk with your child about the habit and encourage them to find something else to provide soothing comfort (blanket or stuffed animal)
- Thumb sucking guards can also be used if the problem doesn’t seem to be resolving.