Taking your child to their first pediatric dental visit is as important as ensuring that they receive regular check-ups from their pediatrician. Your child should have their first dental visit about six months after their first tooth is visible or by the time that they turn one years old.
As pediatric dentists, we often hear parents question why dental care for baby teeth is so important when the teeth just fall out anyway. It’s true that your child will eventually lose their baby teeth. However, just because they are temporary, that does not make them unimportant. The baby teeth serve many crucial roles in your child’s mouth. Starlight Smiles Pediatric Dentistry can help you to understand their importance, and help you assist your child in making sure that they stay healthy.
Good Health and Nutrition
The baby teeth, just like adult teeth, are important for biting and chewing. Proper chewing is essential for good health and nutrition. The baby teeth break down the foods your child eats so that their body can readily digest them and absorb the nutrients. If your child has pain due to dental issues, they may be hesitant to eat certain foods or unable to chew their food properly, which can then affect their overall health.
Proper Speech Development
In addition to the lips and tongue, the teeth also play a role in speech. As your child learns to talk, their teeth will help them to develop proper speech patterns. If your child is suffering from dental problems, they may have trouble learning how to speak properly. This could lead to the need to relearn how to speak properly as they get older.
Baby Teeth Act as Placeholders
The baby teeth are essentially placeholders for the adult teeth. They hold space in the jaw for the adult teeth developing in the jaw. This way, the adult teeth can erupt into proper alignment. If the baby teeth are lost too early, this can affect how the adult teeth come in, which can affect the overall alignment of your child’s teeth. Adult teeth may become blocked, or your child’s smile can become overcrowded, which would then result in the need for orthodontic treatment.
The Health of Baby Teeth Affects the Health of Adult Teeth
Issues that affect the baby teeth can also affect the adult teeth that are still developing in the jaw. For instance, an untreated cavity can develop into an abscess, which can then damage the adult tooth underneath. Keeping the baby teeth healthy helps to ensure that the adult teeth remain healthy as they develop and erupt.
The Health of Baby Teeth Is Linked to Academic Performance
If your child is dealing with dental pain, it can affect their academic performance. Studies have shown that children with healthy mouths do better in school than those who have oral health problems such as decay. Pain can prevent them from paying attention in school, which can prevent them from learning. Children in significant pain may even miss days of school. This could also mean that you miss days of work to stay home with your child and take them to dental appointments. Additionally, dental pain and unhealthy teeth can affect your child’s confidence, which can impact their social life.
The baby teeth might only be temporary, but their care can shape your child’s oral health and confidence for their whole life. For more information on baby teeth and teething, and to schedule an appointment for your child, call Starlight Smiles Pediatric Dentistry at 571-833-0344 today.