Taking Care of ‘Baby’ Teeth

A recent British study found that a great many of that country’s adults do not understand the importance of taking care of a child’s baby teeth and don’t know many of the basic facts about their child’s dental health.

We highly suspect the same is true of Americans.

The study of 1,000 parents in the UK with kids under 13 found that a quarter of the adults don’t think it matters if children develop cavities in their baby teeth and admit to a lack of knowledge about oral health care in children. In addition, approximately one third of the adults wait until their children have all of their baby teeth before taking them to the dentist for the first time.

The study also found:

More than half of parents stop helping their child brush their teeth too early.
Two thirds of the parents had no idea what type of toothbrush their child should be using.
Half o the parents said they don’t check or don’t know how much fluoride should be in their child’s toothpaste.
One in 10 parents say they would give their child a drink of fruit juice after the child has brushed his or her teeth and is going to bed. And almost one third would give their child a glass of milk.

Here are the facts about baby teeth:

Cavities in baby teeth need to be taken care of. Decay in baby teeth can affect a child’s permanent teeth, which are developing beneath the gums. Baby teeth are very important to a child’s early physical, social and emotional development. Healthy baby teeth foster good nutrition through proper chewing, help with speech development, and save space in the jaw needed for proper development of adult teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child visit a dentist by age 1 or within six months of when the first tooth erupts (which is typically around 6 months of age.)

Quite often, toddlers will grab the toothbrush and brush their own teeth. It’s great to let them practice, but it’s a good idea to help your child brush his or her teeth until they are coordinated enough to tie their own shoes.

Children should be brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Pick whatever shape and size is most comfortable. Powered toothbrushes are fun, too!

Before a child is age 3, brush with a non-fluoride toothpaste. For children age 3 to 6, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

Don’t let children take bottles or sippy cups of juice or milk to bed. The sugars in these drinks will stick to the teeth and won’t be washed away by saliva during sleep. Only offer drinks such as these during meals and make sure teeth are brushed before bedtime.

A child’s 20 baby teeth often come in by age 3, and then they start losing them around age 6 or 7, a process that lasts until around age 12. If a cavity develops in a baby tooth, it is important to get it treated and filled. Baby teeth matter, so take care of them! If you have any questions about taking care of baby teeth, contact Enlighten Dental Care and schedule an appointment today!

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