“They are just baby teeth!”
This is a very shocking statement to still be hearing this day and age with healthcare and information so easily available to us. But, unfortunately we do hear it every day.
Baby teeth do fall out. That is basic anatomy. The erupting adult tooth causes the roots to resorb on the baby tooth which in turn causes the baby tooth to become loose and eventually fall out. This typically starts with the two front bottom teeth and then followed but the two top front teeth, but this can vary from child to child. Age can vary as well between boys and girls. Boys typically lose their teeth at a later age than girls around 6 ½ – 7 years old, while girls usually start around 5 ½ -6 years of age. But of course, everyone is different and develops differently. As for the back teeth, the molars, they are not lost until around 9-13 years of age. So those teeth need to stayclean and healthy for quite a long time.
Unfortunately, many people still believe that because kids will eventually lose their baby teeth, that they aren’t as important and there is no need to get fillings or other dental work to fix them. Let’s explain why this is not the case and why you need to worry about those baby teeth. One reason is that the baby teeth serve as natural spacers for the permanent teeth. If one tooth is lost too early, before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, the other teeth could come in crooked and cause crowding. This can obviously affect the child’s bone and jaw structure as well as their self-esteem.
Another big reason that baby teeth need to be properly taken are of is that they are more susceptible to cavities because of thinner enamel. Surprisingly, there are many parents who will not brush their child’s teeth or help them with their daily oral hygiene. We usually suggest that parents help children brush and floss on a daily basis until they are about 8 years of age. Children younger than that lack the dexterity to care for their teeth effectively. Teeth that are not properly taken care of daily are at higher risk for cavities. Obviously we don’t want our children getting cavities. We know that cavities are not a good thing for our teeth, and that they can hurt. Yet, so many people continue to say they are just baby teeth and they don’t think it matters that they have a cavity on a baby tooth because it will eventually fall out. But, when baby teeth have cavities it is much more critical than when an adult gets a cavity on a permanent tooth. Decay spreads quicker due to their structure. So a small cavity can grow into a very large one in a small amount of time. When the cavity gets large enough it can spread into the “pulp” (nerve) of the tooth. This causes pain and can cause an infection which in turn causes inflammation. If there is an infection, the infection can eat through the bone to the permanent tooth damaging the permanent tooth in its wake. This is a very uncomfortable process for anyone going through it and obviously a very dangerous one because we don’t want infection in any part of our bodies.
Parents all can agree they want what is best for their child and that they would do what it takes to keep their child as healthy as possible. So when it comes to oral hygiene and tooth decay it is important to take it very seriously even though they are “just baby teeth”. Here at CDG we care about your child’s health and well-being and are prepared to answer any questions. Feel free to contact our office at any time and be sure to get your child into a pediatric dentist as early as their first birthday.