One of the biggest myths about a child’s dental care is that baby teeth don’t require special attention. For most children, those teeth start coming loose around the age of six. So, what’s the big deal? Why bother to look after a child’s dental health until the permanent teeth start growing? Well, it’s because believing these myths may compromise your child’s oral health. Here are five myths that pediatric dentists constantly battle:
#1 Preventive Doesn’t Matter Until You Start Noticing Problems
The truth is that baby teeth matter. They are vital to your child’s oral health and development. They are place holders in the jaws for the permanent teeth that are already growing under the gums. If a child loses a baby tooth too early, the underlying permanent teeth can drift towards that empty space. When the other adult teeth start growing, they could come in crooked or crowded. Taking preventive measures early on ensures that you’re teaching them healthy habits that they’ll use for life.
#2 First Dental Appointments Are Later On In Life
The American Dental Association (ADA) strongly recommends a dental checkup after the first tooth comes in, and no later than the first birthday, although many seem to believe the myth that they can wait until their early teen phase to go to the dentist. This checkup will detect cavities and other developmental problems, but most important is those families will start practicing proper oral hygiene at the earliest age. A pediatric dentist can then help combat any of these problems and teach parents how to handle and correct bad habits, like thumb sucking.
#3 Baby Teeth Don’t Matter Because They Fall Out Anyways
Baby teeth are more important than you may think. This is because not only do they act as place holders for adult teeth, but they can also show early signs of a crossbite, underbite, or overbite.
Baby teeth are also vital to your child’s development because they:
- Help your child to learn how to eat properly. Damaged baby teeth can make chewing painful or a challenge and cause early eating problems.
- Help with the child’s speech development. Bad tooth positioning or premature baby teeth loss can affect how the child pronounces new words or shapes the mouth and tongue while speaking.
#4 My Child Doesn’t Need Cleanings While In Braces
Even though you have braces and you’re seeing your orthodontist every six weeks for adjustments, you still have to see your dentist every six months for cleanings. This applies even to those who wear clear aligners. It’s more important than ever to keep up with cleanings because of the potential for food to get caught in your braces that you may never know about. Additionally, flossing can be hard when wires are involved, which can lead to excessive levels of plaque in kids in braces.
#5 My Child Has Bad Teeth Because I Have Bad Teeth
It’s usually a bad habit causing the problem. Unless you have an actual genetic condition that causes it. Your baby teeth are the best predictors of what your permanent teeth will be. What you do starting at a young age doesn’t change. “My child has my bad teeth” is simply untrue. It is true your child may be more prone to decay based on the strength of his/her enamel (which could be genetic). Even then, It would still be possible for them to remain cavity free. Cavities are preventable when practicing good habits such as brushing, flossing and keeping your child’s diet free from gummy sticky chewy foods (including gummy vitamins) and drinks other than white milk and water. So just because you had cavities as a child does not mean your child will as well.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, over 40 percent of children between the ages of two and 11 suffer from tooth decay. This can be easily prevented by not believing common myths, doing your research, and seeing a pediatric dentist. Let us help your child clear the way for a lifetime of good dental health. Contact Sunshine Smiles today to schedule your little sunshine’s first visit!