Many people are under the mistaken impression that taking care of their children’s primary teeth is less important than looking after their adult set because they’re going to fall out anyway. Here’s why starting an oral hygiene routine at an early age is vital for long-term dental health.
Baby teeth determine the alignment of adult teeth
Primary teeth act as placeholders, guiding permanent teeth into their proper position. If one of the primary teeth falls out early due to trauma or decay, adjacent teeth move into the space and block the permanent tooth from erupting. This can cause crowding and alignment issues that may require expensive orthodontic work to fix once the full set of adult teeth have grown in.
Neglecting baby teeth affects the health of permanent teeth
Cavities can spread very quickly through the thin enamel of baby teeth, threatening the health of the permanent tooth underneath if left untreated. Early childhood caries (tooth decay) makes dental problems more likely in the future and can also cause general health issues, including sinus and ear infections, malnutrition, and gastrointestinal disorders. Tooth decay is the main reason that children aged 5-9 are admitted to hospital, with nearly a quarter of 5-year-olds in the UK suffering from the preventable condition.
Implementing an effective oral hygiene routine sets children up for life
Teaching your child good oral healthcare habits from a young age means they will be more likely to continue taking care of their teeth and gums into adulthood. Conversely, bad habits such as excessive sugar consumption, neglecting to brush and floss, and failing to attend regular dental appointments can also stick, leading to recurring issues with your child’s adult teeth.
How do I look after my child’s baby teeth?
To help your child develop good oral healthcare habits, we recommend that you:
- Bring your child for a check-up after their first tooth comes in.
- Use a dab of fluoride toothpaste and child-size toothbrush to brush teeth thoroughly twice a day.
- Demonstrate good habits by regularly brushing and flossing yourself – children learn through imitation.
- Make dental hygiene fun by allowing children to choose their own toothbrush, timing their brushing by playing a favourite song, and rewarding them for good behaviour after a dental check-up with a fun activity or treat.
At Cliftonville Dental, we do our utmost to make children feel comfortable and relaxed when they visit the dentist. Our caring, friendly team of dental care professionals will work hard to make sure your child’s experience is a pleasant one. To book your child’s next appointment, call us on 01604 809306 or book online today.