Your child's "baby" teeth may seem like they're just adorable little precursors to the real teeth to come. Many people assume that since they will be replaced fairly quickly, it isn't as vital to take good care of them as it is with permanent teeth. But even though they won't be around long, these first teeth have their own important place in your child's life!
Keeping your child's teeth healthy and strong will help them in more ways than you may realize, both now and in the future. Here are some of the reasons why dental hygiene for children is so important and how you can help your child maintain a healthy mouth.
Baby Teeth - Impermanent, but Worth Fighting For!
Future Consequences of Poor Dental Health
Having a healthy mouth is more important than many people realize. According to the World Health Organization, good oral health is essential to having a healthy life. The impact of poor oral health affects the quality of people's lives, their overall health, and even increases premature mortality. Not taking proper care of teeth will eventually lead to gum problems that raise the risk of several serious health problems. Despite this, 60 to 90% of kids in industrialized nations still have problems associated with poor oral hygiene, such as dental caries, or tooth decay.
Clearly, dental hygiene for children is about more than just making sure they have a beautiful smile. How teeth are cared for as children has been shown to affect how they will fare later in life. One of the strong predictors of whether or not an adult will have good oral health is if they did as a child. Considering all the ways this will benefit your child throughout their lives, it's a worthwhile investment to get them started on the right path.
Present Consequences of Poor Dental Health
The payoff for helping your child keep their mouth healthy isn't all in the future, though. When baby teeth decay, they are so small that the decay can spread very quickly. Because decay can advance so quickly in these small teeth, it can provide an opening for infection. Not only is this painful, it can spread to the child's jaw and beyond.
If a baby tooth is too badly decayed to be repaired, it will most likely have to be pulled. Removing a tooth that is going to be replaced in just a few years by a permanent tooth is not as simple as it may seem. Those first teeth fill vital roles in your child's mouth. They're an important part of learning how to speak and figuring out how to form sounds in the different parts of the mouth. In addition, the baby teeth hold space in the jaw for the adult teeth to grow into, and they aid in the development and formation of the jaw.
It's clear that although baby teeth won't be around for very long, that doesn't mean they're disposable. So how can we protect them and help children start early on a lifetime of good oral hygiene? Here are some tips on how you can help to get them there.
The Importance of Good Home Dental Care
When it comes to dental hygiene for children, there is simply no substitute for the education a child receives at home. Parents, you are your child's first teacher! Here are some important ways you can help them learn what they need to know.
- Teach good habits. Let's face it, no one gets to the end of the day feeling thrilled that they get to floss and brush their teeth again. Odds are, however, that if you've grown up with the expectation that you will care for your teeth regularly that you won't feel comfortable skipping it. The most stable habits are the ones you never have to think about. Regular oral hygiene, starting when they are just babies, can be one of those expectations kids grow up with.
- Set a good example. Children look up to their parents, especially when they're young and want to be like them. Showing them that you value good oral hygiene will benefit them as well as you. In fact, there's even good evidence that the behaviors you show will have a long-term impact on their oral health.
- Keep in mind that good dental habits are good health habits. The basics of good dental hygiene can benefit a person's overall health. Avoiding too much sugar, eating nutritious foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, and regular self-care are all great healthy habits.
Your Dentist - an Important Ally
Teaching your kids how to take care of their teeth is only part of the battle. Dentists not only fix problems, but they can help prevent problems before they begin. Here are some great reasons to take your child for regular dental check-ups.
- Dentists assists with education. It can be very helpful for a child to be shown the correct way to brush in a dentist's office. And once they're used to brushing their own teeth, a hygienist can give them feedback on places they're missing. An expert's input takes some of dental hygiene for children off of the parents.
- Give them a positive association with dentists. When kids grow up having regular dentist visits, especially in an office where they are made to feel comfortable, they don't think of the dentist as a scary person. If they only see a dentist when there is a problem, they're more likely to develop a phobia.
- Dentists help avoid painful problems. Regular care reduces the risk of dental issues, and if problems do arise, it's easier to deal with them if they are caught quickly. Decay progresses quickly in baby teeth, so being vigilant about seeing a dentist will help prevent extensive and painful repairs.
Mountain Peak Dentistry and Your Child's Oral Health
The benefits of good dental hygiene extend far beyond a sparkling smile! Giving your child the most healthy future possible includes making sure their teeth are well cared for. If you need help to get your child started on the road to lifelong healthy habits, contact us at Mountain Peak Dentistry to set up an appointment!
About Mountain Peak Dentistry:
Mountain Peak Dentistry is the dental practice of leading dentist, Dr. Brennan Bonati. We’re proud to be recognized as the most trusted, reliable and compassionate dental practice in Lakewood, CO and the surrounding areas, providing comprehensive, restorative and cosmetic dentistry .