Once upon a time, there was a little boy – or a little girl – that had a big, beautiful, toothy smile that lit up their face and brought joy to anyone who saw it. But there’s more to the story behind that happy smile – and making sure it’s a healthy one – than you might think.
Baby Teeth Are Already There
You might think that your little infant was born without teeth, but that’s actually not true – healthy newborns have a full set of 20 baby teeth in their gums, just waiting to pop out starting at anywhere from six to ten months. The process, called “eruption,” is an accurate term, as anyone who’s had to deal with a teething child.
The process, called “eruption,” is an accurate term, as anyone who’s had to deal with a teething child. There’s a number of ways to soothe the pain and discomfort of teething, most effective being teething necklaces or toys that you can pop in the freezer beforehand.
Those Baby Teeth Are Incredibly Important
Many parents think those baby teeth, since they’re destined to eventually fall out and be replaced by adult teeth, just aren’t that important in the long run. Why bother, right? Well, think again – the truth is that baby teeth, while temporary, play an important role in learning how to speak and chew – not to mention paving the way for adult teeth as they come in!
Also, don’t be alarmed if you see your child has some interesting-looking teeth. It’s incredibly common to have baby teeth that come in all shapes and sizes – some children even end up getting double rows, believe it or not. If you have any questions or concerns, ask your family dentist and they’ll put you at ease.
And Yes, Baby Teeth Can Get Cavities…
For a set of teeth that aren’t going to hang around for very long, it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that they’re susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. It takes a lot of neglect for adult teeth to develop cavities, so baby teeth should be immune, right? Not at all – baby bottle tooth decay, also called infant caries, can develop from overexposure to formula, breast milk, or anything with sugar in it.
The best way to avoid infant caries is to stick to things like water as drinks, especially right before bed. There’s nothing that plaque-causing bacteria likes better than sugar, so don’t give it the chance to flourish.
Which Means It’s Never Too Early to Start Good Dental Habits
Keeping baby teeth clean and in good shape isn’t just a good idea – it’s an important part of instilling good dental habits in your child that will last them years to come. Use tooth wipes or a toothbrush on your baby’s teeth before bed until he or she is old enough to brush their own teeth, and then make sure you schedule an early visit with your dental office starting from around the age of 3, which is when most kids’ baby teeth have finished coming in.
Considering your child will have most of their baby teeth until around the age of 10, keeping them safe and healthy will pave the way towards the best dental health you can give them. That’s the best way to give them a happily ever after!