Primary teeth (also known as deciduous teeth) are the twenty “baby” teeth that begin to erupt around six months of age. They actually begin to form in the womb, which means they must rely on the nutrients consumed by their mother for a good start on growth. It is recommended that toddlers should have their first appointment with their pediatric dentist around twelve months of age.
Taking your child to a pediatric dentist is advantageous as your dental provider has had additional years of education in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of childhood dental problems.
Primary teeth are critically important for permanent teeth that will follow as the first set of teeth are lost. The first teeth are used as a guide for permanent teeth so keeping them in place and in good health is going to impact the rest of your teeth for life. But those primary teeth have other big responsibilities.
That first appointment with the pediatric dentist will likely be more of an exam … oral development will be viewed and instructions on the best way to keep teeth in great health over your child’s lifetime will be discussed.
Brushing and flossing are habits that should be ingrained as soon as the child is coordinated enough to hold a toothbrush. Until then it is up to the caregiver to keep the child’s teeth clean. Keep an age appropriate toothpaste available as your child grows – learning by example is a great teacher. Let your child observe you brushing and flossing every day.
A diet made up of fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and healthy grains is advised. Too many sweets and carbohydrates can contribute to dental decay and gum disease. Baby teeth that become decayed are often a precursor to what can be expected for permanent teeth.
Primary molar teeth often stay in place until about twelve years of age making them an important tool in your child’s ability to eat, speak, and hold space for those permanent teeth.
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