One of the most common question we get asked by parents is how important are baby teeth? I mean, they fall out anyway so do they really matter? In reality, the foundation for a life time of healthy teeth is laid down in the early years. Studies have found that establishing a proper oral hygiene routine early in life, sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth.
Children look up to their parents as role models in many aspects of their life and oral hygiene is certainly one of them. As such, parents play a crucial role in helping their children develop a proper oral hygiene routine.
Importance of the primary dentition
Baby teeth develop from between 6 months to 3 years of age. The enamel in baby teeth is not as mineralised and therefore not as strong as adult teeth. This makes them more susceptible to decay. Healthy baby teeth are necessary for a number of purposes from chewing and therefore good nutrition, to talking as well as helping with self esteem issues. They also help facilitate adult teeth to come into the correct position in later life. It is therefore extremely important to establish a proper oral care routine early on in life. This will help set the foundation for the development of healthy and strong permanent teeth.
In order to establish a good oral hygiene routine, it is important to teach and supervise your children as they brush and floss, but also to minimise the amount of sugar they consume as this can damage teeth if taken over prolonged periods of time.
Role of Parents
It is recommended that parents should brush their children’s teeth till the age of at least 2 and supervise their children’s toothbrushing till around the age of 10. This may seem like an unnecessarily age to be supervising your child’s brushing but the truth is, most children do not have the proper manual dexterity to brush adequately until that age, and even if they do, they may be rushing it and not doing it properly. Using some of the ideas we spoke about in the past couple of weeks on how you can make brushing and flossing fun for your kids, see how you can make this both an important and not too tiresome chore so your kids can “Live Mouth Smart”.