Why Healthy Baby Teeth are Important
Statistics show that over 50 percent of children get cavities before they turn five. Even though baby teeth, known as primary teeth, are not permanent, this lack of good oral hygiene can set the stage for ongoing dental problems. Regular visits to a Houston dentist for kids help keep baby teeth healthy so that they can fulfill their important functions until permanent teeth come in.
Cavities are Harmful
Getting a cavity does not only affect a single tooth. The bacteria that cause this unsightly problem can move beneath the tooth’s surface and into the pulp or nerve area. From there, the infection may spread into the gums or the cheek, causing painful swelling. An infection in the root area of a baby tooth may result in damage to permanent teeth. In rare cases, infections from cavities can travel to the brain and cause serious complications.
Permanent Teeth Need Space
As the first set of teeth, baby teeth have the job of being “placeholders” for permanent teeth. Early loss of baby teeth due to infection, accident or extraction can cause permanent teeth to drift out of place instead of coming in evenly. If your child loses a baby tooth when he or she should not, visit a Houston orthodontics office to get a spacer. This simple dental hardware holds the spot for the permanent tooth and prevents misalignment that would require aggressive correction later on.
Oral Hygiene Habits Start Young
Good dental habits are essential even before baby teeth appear. Kids are born with a full set of teeth “hiding” under their gums, and it is your job as a parent to start them off with good oral hygiene. Gently cleaning baby’s gums after feeding and avoiding sending him or her to bed with a bottle keeps teeth healthy from the beginning. When baby teeth start to come in, talk to your pediatrician or dentist about proper cleaning techniques.
Older children need to be educated on the importance of regular brushing and flossing to maintain oral health. Teach your child good dental care habits, and be a role model for consistency in your own dental routine.
Baby Teeth Aid Speech Development
When your child learns to talk, strong teeth allow him or her to enunciate clearly and speak with confidence. Baby teeth help control tongue movements when learning to form words and help kids to learn the proper pronunciation of syllables. This establishes strong speech patterns at a young age so that your child does not have to re-learn them when permanent teeth come in. Clear speech makes it easier for kids to communicate and fosters independence as they grow.
Better Teeth, Better Diet
Eating becomes painful when baby teeth are damaged or infected. This makes it difficult for children to bite and chew hard foods. Since many nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables are crunchy and require strong teeth, this can make it difficult to instill healthy eating habits. If your child grows up associating good food with pain, he or she will be less likely to make healthy choices in adulthood.
Healthy Baby Teeth Create a Radiant Smile
Cavities, crooked teeth and other dental problems can cause your child to feel self-conscious or ashamed. He or she will not want to smile, especially if the front teeth are affected by spotting, cracks or staining. Maintaining healthy baby teeth sets the stage for a bright smile that boosts self-esteem and makes kids feel more confident and outgoing.
Finding a good Houston family dentist to take care of your child’s baby teeth helps to establish good oral health. When your child starts out with good dental habits, they will enjoy a beautiful smile for life.