Why Worry about Baby Teeth?

Baby Teeth Are Not Something Parents Really Have to Worry About, Do They?

Many parents and caregivers think that baby teeth arent that important because they are going to fall out anyway. Dental experts like Madison Pediatric Dentistry, Kids First Pediatrics and www unitedconcordia com say this is the wrong way to think. Babies should make there first dental visit by the age of one, and these visits sets the tone for lifelong dental health. Primary teeth are the guide for the permanent teeth. They are critically important to the health and function of the incoming adult teeth. What’s more, primary teeth are the child’s teeth throughout childhood, as children don’t usually begin losing them until they are around six, and they usually stop losing them at around 12.  Dentists suggest primary teeth care is just as important as it is for permanent teeth. 


Prevention is a Key Factor

What are the preventative measures you need to take? Madison Pediatric Dentistry experts say that prevention is to stop a dental issue before it starts. It is because primary teeth are important that parents need to bring their children to see a dentist, or even better, a pediatric dentist, and they should do it,  before their first birthday. A baby needs a full dental examination and preventive measures to protect teeth. Parents also benefit from receiving guidance on “Family Oral Health” issues, and learn about risks; hands-on training in dental hygiene methods; dietary counseling and information on how to use the baby bottle and baby cups. The dentist also offers prevention products like fluoride and recommendations on specific needs. 

The First Dental Visit can also show problems that a dentist can prevent with future visits.   Children who have lower risks may only need one visit a year to the dentist, at least until all the teeth come in.  Children who have higher risks may need to go to the dentist as often as once every two or three months. 

Treating Tooth Decay

Kids First Pedriatics suggests that the main purpose for this initial visit is to examine the baby for a number of forms of tooth decay that can affect babies and small children. Dentists are often concerned with decay that comes from baby bottles at this age. The use of formula to put a baby to bed can easily cause excessive decay. 

 Early Childhood Caries is fast becoming a problem in infants and toddlers. This causes cavities becaue of the sugars contained in the bottle and the milk. This also happens when a child frequently uses a “Sippy-cup,” or a  sweetened pacifier. Sometimes even frequent use of medications that contain sugar cause cavities. 

www unitedconcordia com suggests cavities can grow quickly when the tooth enamel is compromised by sugar and carbohydrates. In fact tooth decay can happen in less than six months, and it can damage the baby’s upper front baby teeth, which tend to erupt at around 8 months of age.

  • According to Kids First, The extent and severity of ECC varies and is dependent on the family, education and genetic makeup, as well as some socio-economic factors. However, tooth decay in children of this age depends on the presence of three things:


  • bacteria
  • unprotected teeth
  • A combination of carbohydrates and sugars. 

Preventing Decay in Small Children

The dentists at Kids First says it is a cycle. The conditions for ECC form a  poor oral health hygiene cycle that, even in babies, damages teeth and creates poor oral health habits. The cycle works like this; bacteria interacts with the carbohydrates from foods, this creates an acid; the acid eats at the tooth enamel and causes cavities. 

Because of these conditions cavity formation is constant, but there are ways to prevent it:

  • First remove the bacteria by using good oral hygiene practices 
  • Reduce and eliminate sugars and carbs that cause the acid production. 
  • Use fluoride to make the tooth stronger. 


Adults Need  to Brush the Child’s Teeth for Them

Madison dentists suggest that the first dental visit gives you a lot of information into how to prevent cavities in children. For example, this initial visit can help parents or caregivers learn to brush baby’s teeth, and learn how to make brushing interesting for young kids. 

On that first visit, the dentist shows you how to properly clean a child’s teeth properly for a toddler. Dental professionals can also provide important information on the types of food and their use when trying to keep a child’s oral health in shape. He may tell you to stay away from foods such as cereals, granola bars, and similar snacks. While this may seem strange, as many of these foods are considered healthy, there is a reasoning behind his actions.  These foods are not the best for good oral health, and neither are fruits such as raisins. These foods stick to the teeth and allow bacteria to use them to create acids. Dentists prefer taht parents minimize sugary and high carbs as these  offer a lot of sugar for the bacteria to feed off of. 

Madison Pediatric Dentistry suggests that it’s not just baby drool that is uncomfortable and messy; frequent snacking also prevents the child from making saliva which neutralizes acid in food, and offers important calcium and fluoride that protects the tooth. However, saliva works slowly and can take a few hours to neutralize the effects of acid caused by foods in the mouth. This is why you should not let your baby continually snack.  This habit doesn’t  give the childs mouth enough of an opportunity to produce saliva to neutralize acids from foods. 


Breast Feeding and  Baby Bottles

Every doctor and dentist will tell you that breast-feeding is important, and it does not cause cavities. However, when your baby begins to eat and drink other foods or liquids besides breast milk, this combination can put the child at risk. Babies should be taken away from the breast when they finish feeding.

Parents also tend to supplement mothers milk with baby bottles, which is fine so long as it is not given at night.  A bed time bottle can produce acid constantly. This is why your dentist suggests you only use a bottle during a meal. 

Pacifiers are also a bad habit for a child’s  health, especially when these are dipped in sweeteners like sugar, jam and corn syrup. 

Children who are often sick or have special health care needs  are at higher risk of developing cavities because of the medications they take. Certain medications have high sugar content and may also cause a lower saliva production. This may produce mouth dryness which allows the bacteria in the mouth to increase.  

Remember, when bacteria comes into contact with any type of sugar, they create acid. This means that the more frequently a child eats sugar or simple carbs, the faster his teeth are exposed to acid and this puts him at risk of having early tooth decay.  Parents can this risk by limiting the carbs and sugars that a child receives during meal times. 

Opportunity for Promoting the Entire Family’s Health

A child’s oral health is closely related to the family’s overall dental health and hygiene practices. The initial dental visit educates parents on the importance of their own good oral hygiene.

Children are not born with high levels of cavity-causing bacteria in their mouths. They acquire it from their caregiver, usually their mother, through close contact. These bacteria are transmitted through kissing, sharing eating utensils like a spoon or a glass, sharing food, or cleaning off a pacifier by mouth. The period when a child is most susceptible to acquiring the decay-causing bacteria is quite short, beginning as early as six months of age and continuing through approximately thirty-one months.

There is mounting evidence that a child’s oral health is closely tied to his or her mother’s. This is why it is important that caregivers of young children promote their own oral health through regular dental visits and proper hygiene habits. The Age One Visit is a good reminder — and a learning opportunity — for proper hygiene and care.

Diagnosis, prevention, education and treatment — that first visit can cover a lot of ground with regards to protecting your baby’s health. The immediate diagnosis of a child’s oral health and any emerging dental problems helps build a foundation of good dental health for your child and everyone involved.


What About Fluoride?

Oral hygiene and dietary changes require behavioral change on the part of the child’s family,  and this can help bring good lifelong oral health, however, children also need extra help in the form of fluoride. This is the reason water and toothpaste contain this ingredient. Fluoride works best when the teeth have fully formed and have erupted in the mouth. The dentist often applies fluoride treatments to a child’s teeth in the clinic and this activity is an important dentist patient  routine.


Bottom Line

It is important to pay attention to your infants oral health. Visit your pediatric dentist by age one and continue a healthy dental routine for the rest of the child’s life.


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