Why is it essential that baby teeth are healthy and how they affect the development of the permanent ones?
Good oral hygiene, healthy food and regular dental check up are key factors for healthy teeth. Looking after your oral health should be a habit developed in childhood. It is a common misconception that tooth decay in baby teeth can not be transmitted to permanent ones. When untreated, cavities may damage baby teeth and cause premature extraction or infect the permanent ones. Baby teeth are essential for thorough chewing and food processing and they help in positioning the permanent teeth in the mouth cavity, articulate the speech and create an image about the overall health.
Which are common health-related mistakes about baby teeth?
The general opinion that baby teeth have no influence over the health and development of permanent teeth is still present. We all have to work together to change our mindset. The first dental check up should be no later than 6 months after the first tooth appears in order to follow the growth, development and health, not after the presence of decay or toothache. In addition, common practice is drinking milk in bed or falling asleep with sweetened pacifier which leads to bacteria growth in the mouth cavity. This kind of bacteria wears the teeth out and causes demineralization. Furthermore, saliva which functions as natural mouthwash, its secretion is reduced during the night and that is why the above-mentioned practice should be avoided. Sweetened food, sparkling juices, sweets, caramels and all sticky food, should be abstained from. Oral hygiene is a key factor for healthy teeth and it is usually neglected, wrong or/and irregular.
What would your advice be?
Primarily, I would emphasize that regular, good and thorough dental hygiene is crucial for a healthy smile. I recommend regular dental check up, at least once every six months as well as healthy lifestyle. For instance, replace the artificially sweetened food with apple since it works as a natural teeth cleanser and neutralizes the harmful acids. Replace the milk with plain water before sleeping and develop the habit to brush the teeth with your child together. Choose the right toothbrush, toothpaste with the right amount of fluoride in accordance with the age of your child or a sterile gauze dipped in water for toddlers.