Why Are Primary Teeth Important?
It is necessary to preserve the optimal health of your child’s primary teeth. Neglected cavities can very often cause problems which affect developing permanent teeth. Primary teeth, or baby teeth, are important for (1) maintaining space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, (2) proper chewing and eating, and (3) allowing normal growth of the jaw bones and muscles. Primary teeth also affect the development of speech and overall contribute to an attractive appearance. While the front 4 teeth last until 6-7 years of age, the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-13.
Children’s teeth begin forming before they are born. As early as 4 months, the first primary (or baby) teeth to erupt through the gum tissue are the lower central incisors, followed closely by the upper central incisors. Although all 20 baby teeth usually appear by age 3, the pace and order of their eruption can vary. Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6, starting with the lower central incisors and first molars. This process continues occuring until approximately age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or up to 32 including the third molars (or wisdom teeth).
Radiographs (X-Rays) are a vital part of your child’s dental diagnostic process. Without them, certain dental conditions can and will not be properly diagnosed.
Radiographs detect more than cavities. For example, radiographs may be needed to examine erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, plan orthodontic treatment, or evaluate the results of an injury. Radiographs allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions
that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. The sooner dental concerns are diagnosed, the treatment is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends radiographs and oral examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. On average, most pediatric dentists request radiographs approximately once a year. Nearly every 3 years it is ideal to obtain a complete set of radiographs, either a panoramic and bitewings or periapicals and bitewings.
Which Toothpaste is Recommended
Tooth brushing is one of the most important tasks for good oral health. Many toothpastes, and/or tooth polishes, however, can be damaging to young smiles in development. They contain harsh abrasives which can wear away young tooth enamel. When choosing a toothpaste for your child make sure to pick one that is recommended by the American Dental Association. These toothpastes have been tested to ensure they are safe for your child to use.
It is highly recommended to select a toothpaste that contains fluoride, as fluoride aids preventing dental decay. Remember, children should spit out toothpaste after brushing to avoid having too much fluoride. If an excessive amount of fluoride is ingested, a condition called fluorosis, which affects the permanent teeth, can occur. If your child is too young or unable to spit out the toothpaste, use only a smear of toothpaste so that if it is swallowed the amount of fluoride ingested will be minimal.