Your child’s baby teeth are one of the first milestones in his development. Even if they will fall out eventually, baby teeth serve a lot of important functions, among them, preparing for the proper growth of his permanent teeth. That’s why you will need to take good care them—failure to do so could impact his oral health for the rest of his life. A Denver dentist for kids should be your ally in looking after your child’s oral health, from infancy to adolescence.
Baby Teeth and Their Growth
You may not see them upon your child’s birth, but his primary teeth are already forming beneath those gums. They won’t erupt until many months later, usually when the child is 6 or 7 months old. When a child reaches 3 years old, he usually will have a complete set of 20 baby teeth.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
Primary or baby teeth help children chew easily, speak clearly, and put a great smile on their faces. Most importantly, baby teeth guide permanent teeth into proper position. A decayed primary tooth can affect the growth of permanent teeth once they start to erupt. This can eventually cause the child pain along with a host of other health problems.
Beginning Your Child’s Oral Care
Children’s oral care should start a few days after birth. At this stage of a child’s development, dental care can be done by simply wiping the baby’s gums, tongue, inner cheeks, and palate with a clean damp washcloth. This is done to remove plaque, the sticky substance that contains decay-causing bacteria.
When the baby’s teeth start to erupt, continue his early dental care by cleaning the teeth with a soft-bristled brush. There’s no need to use toothpaste yet, as he isn’t old enough to rinse and spit it out. Around the age of three when every baby tooth has erupted, you may start flossing your child’s teeth with an age-appropriate dental floss. If you notice any off-white or stained areas, take him to a Denver pediatric dentist.
Working with an Orthodontist
As the child grows older, the dentist might recommend treatments that will help prevent future problems. For instance, pediatric orthodontic evaluation should be done as early as possible. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommend taking your child to an orthodontist within six months after the first tooth erupts, or by his first birthday, whichever comes first.
A trusted Denver orthodontist can detect concerns affecting the growth of permanent teeth, and address them early. For example, early detection and treatment of teeth overcrowding can minimize the need for permanent teeth extraction later on.
(Source: How to care for your baby’s gums and emerging teeth, BabyCenter)