Myths and Facts about Baby Teeth

MYTH:

BABY TEETH ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT AS THEY FALL OUT SOONER

FACT:

Healthy smiles start with baby teeth.Baby teeth are as important as permanent teeth. They play a crucial role in child’s overall health and development. They serve many functions like they help in chewing, proper speech development and act as space savers for permanent teeth. They also contribute to child’s esthetics and social development. They need to be maintained healthy to lay foundation for sound permanent teeth.

MYTH:

CAVITIES IN BABY TEETH DON’T MATTER AS THEY ARE ONLY TEMPORARY TEETH.

FACT:

Most of the parents often think tooth decay in milk teeth does not affect child’s health as they are present only for a shorter period. Cavities in baby teeth are to be addressed immediately as loss of even a single baby tooth can lead to space loss for permanent teeth as adjacent teeth drift into empty space and does not allow for adult teeth to erupt in to its proper place and crowding of teeth sets in. Cavity in milk teeth can cause pain which affects chewing and food intake. The tooth can become abscessed eventually if left untreated and affect underlying permanent teeth. 

MYTH:

BABY TEETH NEED NOT BE BRUSHED TOO OFTEN

FACT:

Though baby teeth are temporary, they have to be maintained with proper care as long as they exist in the mouth. Oral hygiene should be instilled at a very early age. Parents should always motivate their children to practice regular brushing. Proper brushing keeps teeth clean and away from cavities. Brushing twice daily helps effective plaque removal. Brushing should start by the age of eighteen months. Use a soft bristled brush with a pea sized tooth paste up to three years of age. Children should brush under the guidance of parents until they own the dexterity to properly clean their teeth.

MYTH:

USING FLUORIDE TOOTH PASTE IS HARMFUL FOR CHILDREN. 

FACT:

Fluoride in tooth paste adds some extra protection to your child’s teeth. Fluorideincorporated at an early age can penetrate a young tooth and make it stronger. It helps in remineralization and slowing down of demineralization of teeth. Fluoride can be made available in the form of tooth paste, drinking water, topical fluoride application, fluoride varnishes and mouth washes. Use only a pea or smear size of fluoride tooth paste for your child and ask your child to spit out the tooth paste. Don’t let your child rinse his or her mouth immediately as fluoride is lost with rinsing. Too much fluoride intake can be detrimental to health whereas optimum levels can be beneficial. Check for the levels of regular fluoride intake by your child and consult your pediatric dentist to know if any fluoride supplement is needed.

MYTH:

A CHILD DOESN’T NEED TO SEE A DENTIST UNTIL HE IS OLDER

FACT:

Regular dental checkups for children are important part of preventive health care. Taking your child to the dentist from an early age helps to protect your child’s dental health. Regular dental visits help in early detection of caries and treating early avoids the need for more invasive treatment. Your child’s first dental visit should be by his or her first birthday. Regular visits after this can be with an interval of six months to one year. However, the frequency of dental visits depends on child’s age, health and risk of tooth decay.

MYTH:

TEETHING CAN MAKE YOUR BABY SICK

FACT:

Though teething can make your child uncomfortable, there are no obvious signs and symptoms of teething. Gum irritation, drooling, irritability are the most common symptoms associated with teething. Though teething can cause diarrhea, fever etc, they are actually very mild. It cannot be related to a true fever. If your baby has significant signs of sickness, consult your pediatrician immediately.

MYTH:

ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO TRY TO PULL LOOSE TEETH

FACT:

If your child tries to wiggle his or her baby tooth, it may cause your child to lose his or her milk tooth before its actual time to fall out. If the child has forcibly tried to pull his or her tooth, root may be broken as it may not have fully disintegrated. A broken root can be more susceptible to infection. Consult your pediatric dentist if you notice any abnormalities in your child’s dentition.