So many parents disregard baby teeth, thinking that they’ll simply fall out in time anyway. What they don’t know is how important baby teeth actually are. There are many things you should know about your child’s baby teeth, and we want to outline a few important tips and facts to remember:
- Baby teeth are for more than chewing – Of course the main purpose of baby teeth is to allow a child to chew, but they’re actually around for more than that. Baby teeth help children develop proper speech. They also help to ensure the proper growth of adult teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too early, adult teeth may grow in improperly, or may result in an adult tooth not growing in at all.
- Baby teeth should start becoming loose around age 6 – It’s at this age that baby teeth will start working their way out and making way for permanent teeth. Some children will lose them a little earlier, some a little later, but losing teeth should begin occurring naturally around this time. Around age 12, the tooth fairy will be making her final visits, and all adult teeth should be in or well on their way.
- Begin taking your child to the dentist regularly at 12 months old – By age 1, as suggested by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD), children should begin their regular visits with the dentist. As soon as teeth begin coming in and before they reach 12 months, parents should brush their children’s teeth regularly with child-safe toothpaste. The child’s first dental visit will be mostly focused on the parents’ ability to provide good dental care.
- Sometimes baby teeth stick around – In some rare cases, even the best cared for baby teeth will be hiding the fact that no adult tooth is present underneath. In these cases, baby teeth may never fall out. Parents can find out if their child will have permanent baby teeth with a panoramic x-ray.
Baby teeth should be cared for as diligently and thoroughly as adult teeth; they are just as susceptible to cavities, infection, and damage as permanent teeth. With proper care and guidance, children can learn effective lifetime oral care habits and develop respect for positive overall health!