Oral Hygiene for Kids – Why Is It So Important?
Some people think that baby teeth aren’t important. If a child gets a cavity and loses a tooth earlier than normal, it’s no big deal.
Actually, it is, for three main reasons.
First, your child’s teeth – yes, even the ones that will fall out in a few years, serve multiple important purposes. They help your child learn to speak clearly and correctly, as well as help them chew their food thoroughly and comfortably. Keeping their baby teeth until they’re supposed to come out is vital for:
- A beautiful smile
- Confidence in the way they look and speak
- Optimal nutrient absorption
- Good digestion
- Healthy adult teeth
- Optimal occlusion and jaw alignment
If a child loses a tooth before it’s supposed to come out, the adjacent teeth will shift to fill in the space. This can lead to alignment issues, which can damage their other teeth and create jaw issues, leading to severe malocclusion or TMJ disorder.
Also, since baby teeth are so small, dental decay can reach the pulp (nerve) of the tooth faster than in an adult tooth. When decay reaches the pulp chamber it can cause a lot of pain and result in dying tissue, something that can only be remedied with an extraction or pediatric root canal treatment (pulpotomy).
The second reason why it’s important to care for baby teeth is that the earlier you teach your child to care for their teeth, the better. Trying to introduce dental home care practices when they’re older might be met with resistance, which can lead to a lot of frustration. However, if you practice oral hygiene with kids from the start, it quickly becomes part of their routine and they’re less likely to put up a fight. (Note: It also helps to make the process fun!)
Finally, cavities in baby teeth can be painful and we know you don’t want to see your child in pain. Things happen, though. Kids fall and scrape their knees. Some pain is inevitable in life. But you can help protect them from dental pain by practicing good oral hygiene at home from an early age.