February is Children’s Dental Health Month and it is the perfect opportunity to talk about baby teeth. There are many myths about baby teeth, such as, “They are going to fall out anyway so there is no point in taking care of them”. Yikes, this is a big myth we are here to bust. Let’s talk baby teeth.
Baby Teeth Explained – Common Myths Busted
Myth: Baby teeth don’t matter, they fall out anyway
Baby teeth also known as deciduous or primary teeth will fall out, but they have many important functions. Not only do they help your child chew and speak, but they serve as important place holders for their permanent teeth. Meaning, if baby teeth are lost too early the permanent teeth may begin to drift or space out. This can then lead to overcrowding or improper spacing between permanent teeth.
Myth: Babies don’t need to go to the dentist
Once your baby begins to get teeth it is time to bring them to the dentist. According to the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), parents should bring their children in for their first dental visit as soon as their first tooth erupts or by the age of one. Visits to the dentist early on help establish a positive relationship with the dentist. Oral health issues can also be caught early and the dentist can help you with issues such as thumbsucking.
Myth: Brushing baby teeth isn’t important
As soon as your child gets their first tooth it is time to begin brushing. You may begin to use a damp soft cloth to clean your baby’s mouth before teeth erupt to help reduce bacteria and get them familiar with the process. Oral hygiene is just as important for your children as it is for adults. They should be brushing twice a day with or without assistance depending on their age and flossing daily.
Myth: I should not give my child fluoride
Tooth decay is possible as soon as teeth erupt, therefore, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the use of fluoride to enhance cavity prevention. However, you should check with your dentist first on what they recommend depending on the age and maturity of your child.
Myth: I don’t need to floss baby teeth
As soon as their teeth touch it is time to begin flossing.
Myth: Pacifiers and thumbsucking are bad
Pacifiers and thumbsucking are both soothing techniques for children, however, they can have negative effects on their smile. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be weaned from a pacifier by age two and thumb sucking by age three.
Get More Information on Children’s Dental Health
Regular dental checkups are a great opportunity to ask questions. Bring a list of any additional questions you may have to your next visit to chat them over with your hygienist or dentist.