Correct care of a child’s baby teeth (also known as primary teeth) is very important. These teeth hold space for the future adult (permanent) teeth.
- If a baby tooth decays or is removed too early, the space for the permanent teeth is lost and can only be regained through orthodontic treatment.
- Infected baby teeth can cause the permanent teeth to develop incorrectly, resulting in stains, pits, and weaker teeth.
- Baby teeth are important in speech development.
- Baby teeth aid in chewing food correctly, promoting healthy nutrition.
Most children begin losing their baby teeth around the ages 5 or 6. Children often lose the front teeth first. They continue to lose baby teeth until the age of 12 or 13 when all of the permanent teeth finally come through, except for the third molars (wisdom teeth). These molars begin to appear around age 17 to 21.
Diet and dental care for children:
The AAPD recommends the following to be sure your child eats correctly to maintain a healthy body and teeth:
- Ask your pediatric dentist to help you assess your child’s diet.
- Shop smart. Don’t normally stock your pantry with sugary or starchy snacks. Buy “fun foods” just for special times.
- Limit the number of snack times. Choose healthy snacks.
- Provide a balanced diet, and save foods with sugar or starch for mealtimes.
- Don’t put your young child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice.
- If your child chews gum or sips soda, choose those without sugar.