Since one of our primary services is family dental care, I treat entire families — from kids, to adults, to the elderly. One of the questions that I often get is when a parent asks me “Do I need to brush my kid’s baby teeth?”
I understand where they’re coming from; after all, their children’s baby teeth are only temporary. Even if these teeth get cavities, they’ll soon be replaced by their new and permanent teeth. But I don’t want you to get the impression that these teeth are invaluable and expendable – because they’re not.
These baby teeth are the teeth you can use to instill healthy habits in your child that will last them their lifetime. By teaching your children how to brush and floss their teeth, and showing them the proper technique, you’re giving them the tools they need to have a healthy mouth and smile for their entire life. In addition, keeping these teeth is necessary to ensure that there is proper spacing for the incoming adult teeth.
Brushing and flossing are important because they remove plaque from your teeth. Generally speaking, brushing removes plaque from all the areas you can see, and flossing removes plaque from the areas you can’t. This is important, because plaque is bacteria growing on your teeth. And this bacteria can lead to gingivitis and cavities. These problems can eventually lead to tooth loss. And there are many studies showing a link between missing teeth and shorter lifespans.
But I’ll even take this a step further, and say that you should ALSO be giving your child fluoride. (Be sure to check with your dentist about how much your child should be using.)
In children under 6 years of age, the fluoride they ingest (from pills or drinking water) becomes incorporated into the development of their permanent teeth. This makes is more difficult for plaque (mentioned earlier) to form acids which demineralize these teeth – keeping your child’s teeth healthy throughout their life.
Fluoride also disrupts acid production and helps speed remineralization in their baby teeth — which keeps these teeth healthy as well.
By teaching our children early-on about the habits of brushing and flossing their teeth properly, we’re giving them the tools they need to have a healthy mouth and smile for their entire life.
So, be sure to teach your child about the benefits of brushing, flossing and using fluoride. Those are lessons that they’ll use for years to come.
For more dental information, be sure to visit me or my staff at one of the three locations shown below, go to my website at ModernFamilyDentalCare.com, visit my Facebook Page or watch my Dental Minute videos on YouTube.