Early dental treatment in childhood has a big impact on long-term oral health, both because it gets children used to – and comfortable with – dental care, but also because their primary teeth play such an important role in the development of their permanent teeth.
Raising children, but especially your first, can involve a very steep learning curve.
Not only do children have often radically different day-to-day nutritional, health and basic comfort requirements than adults do (and unique ways of communicating those needs!), but these can change at what seems like lightning speed.
In the whirlwind that begins in infancy and continues into adolescence, your kids’ dental and oral health care might get lost in the very busy shuffle — especially if your GP or regular dentist isn’t encouraging you to think about it in the first place.
However, early dental treatment is one of the most important contributors to children’s long-term health and well-being.
Studies are showing just how connected oral-dental and overall health are. Tooth decay and gum disease can contribute to serious, life-altering conditions such as diabetes, respiratory diseases, and painful primary and secondary infections.
There’s also mounting evidence that heart disease is closely linked to inadequate oral and dental care.
Early treatment is key because anyone who has teeth, even just one tooth, is susceptible to tooth decay.
Babies can be especially vulnerable to decay because so much of what they ingest — breast milk, formula, cow's milk and fruit juice – is relatively high in sugar.
Further, natural childhood activities such as thumb-sucking, and using bottles and sippy cups can spread bacteria and sugar around the mouth and help build up the acid that leads to plaque.
Maybe you’re wondering why you need to worry about your children’s baby teeth, which are going to fall out anyway –especially if, like so many adults now, you didn’t see a dentist until you started school.
Primary teeth are crucial for 2 reasons: your child’s present health and your child’s future health.
Strong, healthy primary teeth ensure your little ones can properly chew and digest their food; receiving adequate nutrition now will go a long way towards helping them grow into robust, healthy teens and adults.
The primary teeth also create space in your child’s mouth for the permanent (adult) teeth that will replace them.
If a child loses primary teeth to tooth decay, their adult teeth might not get the space needed to sit properly with the other teeth in their mouth. This could result in crowded, misaligned teeth that can cause bite issues as well as be hard to clean – leading to further tooth decay.
Taking care of baby teeth, which last from between ages 6 and 13 (6-8 for incisors and 9-13 for cuspids and molars), can help prevent cavities, tooth loss and the need for expensive and uncomfortable mechanical devices such as space maintainers or braces.
Normal development of the jaw bones and muscles are greatly dependent upon proper primary and adult tooth formation and positioning; and both of these things can contribute to developing speech patterns.
And, of course, filling cavities in young patients prevents decay from spreading deeper into the tooth, which means less pain for your little ones and less interrupted sleep and behavioural problems that result from unchecked discomfort.
We are your children's pediatric dental specialists in Southwest Calgary.