As a parent, it is an exciting time when your child’s first baby teeth erupt, signaling that their smiles are developing right on time. Even though these primary teeth will eventually fall out to make room for their permanent adult teeth, these baby teeth are important to your child’s dental development.
Baby’s First Dental Visit
A healthy oral environment is crucial for your child’s growing smile, and this means cleaning their tiny chompers when they first break through the gums. It is also the time to bring your child to their first dental checkup, or at the latest, by their first birthday. American parents tend to take their children to their first dental visit when they are toddlers between 2-3 years of age; this is actually late in the tooth development game because cavities can already be lurking in their mouths!
Unfortunately, baby teeth are vulnerable to tooth decay, just like their adult counterparts. This is especially the case if your baby constantly has sugary foods and beverages that sit in the mouth without having it cleaned out. It often happens with bottled milk or juices that aren’t cleared off their gums every day. This sugary environment feeds the harmful oral bacteria in the mouth and will eventually wear down and weaken precious tooth enamel. Enamel erosion happens because of the acids that are released from thriving oral bacteria, which then attacks the teeth.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) promotes bringing your baby in for their first dental checkup within six months of their first tooth erupting (somewhere between six to twelve months). Some parents don’t consider the need for protecting baby teeth because they will ultimately fall out, but these primary teeth actually play a vital role in their oral health.
Baby’s Primary Teeth
- These act as biting and chewing agents so that your baby can get the crucial nutrients their food provides.
- They assist your child as their speech develops.
- Your child’s primary teeth act as place holders for their adult teeth coming in behind the baby teeth.
- Another advantage of taking care of your child’s primary teeth is they assist their developing sense of self, so they can be confident as their teeth show up.
Ultimately, these primary teeth will complete their role as the adult teeth come in, and they fall out to make room for their secondary teeth. You can watch for this to happen around age six, and then let the teeth fall out on their own to minimize pain and bleeding. Teeth that are extracted or lost because of trauma can be painful and messy.
Baby’s Dental Health
Your baby’s developing oral health sets the foundation for their future dental health. A healthy smile is free of cavities at any age, and daily oral care is a habit that your baby needs to develop for the rest of their lives!
Seeing the dentist early will allow our team to check your baby’s smile to make sure it is developing correctly and take care of issues early when treatment is less invasive and most effective. We are happy to address any concerns you may have about your infant’s growing smile, and our team is happy to show you how to properly clean your baby’s teeth. To learn more, or schedule your child’s first dental visit, give us a call today!