Primary Teeth Importance and Care
Your child’s baby teeth are extremely important for:
- Proper nutrition needed for development.
- Their appearance, smile, and self-image.
- Maintaining “space” for the permanent dentition to erupt properly. That means that if a primary tooth is lost to decay too early, it may increase the need for orthodontic treatment down the road.
To properly maintain the baby teeth you should:
- Start brushing when first tooth appears or before.
- Brush after your child or double check their work to be sure each surface is clean.
- Bring them in for regular dental checkups starting at age 3 or 4.
***For Eruption Expectations and Brushing or Flossing***
Click here for instructional animations.
Baby Bottle Syndrome - is the rapid decay of baby teeth due to extended and frequent exposure to liquids containing sugar. If a child falls asleep with a bottle, the sugary liquid pools around the teeth. The bacteria living in the mouth will then turn the sugar to acid which causes decay. Common liquids that cause this problem are milk or formula, juice, soda, or breast milk.
You can help prevent this by:
- Cleaning your child's teeth 2 to 3 times daily.
- Do not allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle or “sippy” cup filled with juice, milk or formula.
- Give your child plain water if needed at bedtime
Thumb Sucking - Sucking makes children feel secure, content, or sometimes drowsy. Unfortunately, prolonged sucking can interfere with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth. These can cause changes in the child’s face and smile if gone uncorrected. You should encourage your child to stop this habit between the ages of 2 and 4. If you find it difficult for them to quit, Dr. Lorey and Dr. Smith will be happy to offer some options.
Fluoride: Topical & Daily Supplements
Topical fluoride is placed on the teeth for children every 6 months at their professional cleaning appointment. It is important to help strengthen the teeth that are already erupted within the child’s mouth. It also helps to re-calcify the enamel to strengthen weak areas that may be missed during everyday brushing.
Fluoride supplements are given to children that are living in an area without a fluoridated water supply. These supplements travel through the system and help strengthen the teeth as they are forming and developing.
If you are on non-public water you may want to have it tested to see if it contains fluoride. If you are on a public water supply you can click here to see if it is fluoridated and at what levels.
Sealants – Children now benefit from having a thin covering placed over the pits and fissures of their permanent molars. This decreases the risk of decay. The American Dental Association recognizes that sealants can play an important role in preventing tooth decay. Sealants should be placed as soon after eruption as possible for the maximum benefit.
Sports Mouth Guards - It is important to protect your child’s teeth during “Contact” and “Non-contact” sports where incidental contact with solid objects or other participants is common. Collision of the lower teeth with the upper teeth can be cushioned by a mouth guard decreasing the chance for damaged or chipped teeth. A custom-fit guard allows for clearer speech, increased comfort, and less restricted breathing than other types of mouth guards. A custom fabricated mouth guard can also be made in your school colors!