It can be hard to stay ahead of tooth decay. Did you know that tooth decay can start in your baby before their teeth are even visible? By the time of birth, babies typically have twenty teeth present in their jaw. Primary teeth begin coming in at the six-month mark, and are critical in maintaining adult tooth spacing. Sometimes it can feel like fighting an uphill battle when it comes to tooth decay, but we pledge to help you every step of the way!
Sometimes people will ask us, “Do baby teeth really matter?” Our answer is always a resounding, “YES!” Baby teeth play a critical role in future oral health and unfortunately are often overlooked because of their impermanence. The biggest factor the primary (baby) teeth play in the future of children’s oral health is they act as placeholders for the permanent teeth.
The adult tooth sits directly underneath the primary tooth as it waits (several years) to surface. If the primary tooth is lost due to trauma or decay the adult tooth can wander from its original position, or other teeth can start encroaching on the empty space. The end result can be crooked or crowded teeth that end up needing to be corrected later in life. It is important to note that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend that children begin seeing the dentist no later than the age of one.
Cavities in Kids
it’s no secret that cavities form in the presence of sugars. What happens is sugars that are present within the mouth are latched onto by different bacteria. These bacteria feed on the sugars and secrete an acid that eats away at the enamel of the tooth. Once enough of these bacteria are present they build up in hard to reach areas of the mouth and begin to form plaque. Plaque that isn’t removed daily (through brushing and flossing) can harden into tartar.
Interestingly, babies are born without these bacteria in their mouth and therefore cannot be affected by cavities without someone transferring these bacteria to them. Typically, the bacteria are transferred from parent to child via a utensil that they use together.
Avoiding Childhood Cavities
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.” The best way to ensure your child’s oral health is to bring them up respecting their oral health. We have found that educating a child on the nuances of good oral health habits has a wonderful way of sticking with the child through their life. Brushing after breakfast and before bed is quick, easy, and provides a comforting habit for children. Flossing is often overlooked because people think it is too hard to teach a child to floss properly. Really, now there are more options than ever available to give kids a big leg up in flossing and brushing.
Give our office a call at (503) 644-4749 to schedule an appointment for your child. We want to help you and your child get started down the right road toward a gorgeous smile!
Our Doctors: Hai Pham, DMD Jenette Intrachat, DDS Frank Hsieh, DDS, MSD
TOP DENTIST, Portland Monthly
Dr. Pham was featured in Portland Monthly, chosen as one of the Top Dentists, Pediatric Dentistry, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.