The Importance of Baby Teeth

Baby teeth aren’t that important. They’re just going to fall out anyway…right? Wrong. Taking care of baby teeth actually contributes to the health of your permanent teeth, setting the course for a lifetime of dental health. Good life-long oral hygiene habits start early, so keep reading for some facts about baby teeth and tips for keeping them clean!

child smiling with baby teeth

Why do baby teeth matter?

Even though primary (baby) teeth will eventually fall out to make way for permanent (adult) teeth, it is equally important to take care of them. Baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth, maintaining the structure of your child’s mouth and jaw to guide teeth to grow in properly. If baby teeth fall out or are extracted prematurely due to trauma or tooth decay, surrounding teeth can become crooked and cause adult teeth to become impacted. Preventing cavities is also just as important for baby teeth, because tooth decay can cause more serious problems such as the formation of painful, inflamed cysts between the teeth and gums (abscessed teeth).

How to take care of baby teeth

  • Brush your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride increases teeth’s resistance to acid breakdown, making it less likely for cavities to form.
  • Don’t give your child bottled milk to fall asleep with. Any drink besides water contains sugars that will wreak havoc on their teeth while they sleep.
  • Start brushing early – even before teeth come in! Simply run a damp cloth or a clean finger over the gums after feeding to eliminate the risk of food or drink residue reacting with harmful bacteria in the mouth.
  • Help your child with brushing and flossing until the age of six when they have developed enough dexterity to use proper techniques.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Children’s enamel and gums are not fully developed and require gentler care to keep from damaging them. You can also soak the toothbrush in warm water to soften the bristles even more.

Your child’s oral health journey starts before teeth even start to grow in. Make sure to take good care of those baby teeth to ensure a lifetime of good health. Give Hickory Hills Dental Care a call if you’re looking for more tips!