We love out babies to pieces! We love those sweet googly eyes, those tiny little ears, those velvety feet and delicious smelling rolls! We gaze for hours at those adorable little creatures, but somehow baby teeth seem forgotten in the admiration we give them. Many parents ask us why exactly are we so stuck on those baby teeth. "Aren't they coming out anyway?" Oh yes they are! At least we hope so. But meantime they serve a very important role and we want moms and dads to be well educated about the merits of baby teeth. We want those teeth to be admired as much as the rest of those fluffy little ones. So exactly, why are they important? Well... they help kids eat well and grow strong. They assist kids in speech development and pronunciation. They guide permanent teeth into the right position and they provide them with a healthy, adorable smile. Front baby teeth stay in until six to eight years of age and the back ones do not come out until twelve! I don't even want to mention the distress that cavities, abscesses, infections, fillings, crowns or extractions cause both parents and kids! Cavities are caused by bacteria in baby's mouth that is fed by sugars from common foods and drinks such as juice, milk, sweets, crackers etc. Let me show you a picture or two...
But the coolest thing about cavities is that they are preventable! What would you say if we gave you tools on prevention and early detection? Wouldn't it be wonderful if you little one's smile always looked like this?
So here are easy prevention tips:
1. Clean and brush your little one's teeth as soon as you see them. Use soft toothbrush and add toothpaste around 18 months of age.
2. Do not allow your baby to sleep with a bottle filled with anything different than water. Milk and juice at night will cause cavities.
3. Do not let your toddler snack or crackers, cereal or drink milk or juice all day long. Have designated snack times.
4. Form good habits by showing your little one your own good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing daily.
5. Find a pediatric dentist and make your first appointment by 1 year of age.
But in all honesty... how will you know if your baby is starting to get cavities? In order to know for sure you need to find your baby a dental home by one year of age. Meantime however, parents and care takers can check by LIFTING THAT LIP! Lay your little one in your lap once every few weeks and lift the lip up gently. You can see a lot by gazing at those front pearly whites. Check for any white lines along the gums, check for dark spots between the teeth or close to the gums, check for any fractures or discoloration. If you see anything of concern, call your pediatric dentist and set up an appointment. Here are a few pictures with examples of what you are looking for:
This is how you LIFT THE LIP
Examples of early dental decay: white lines along the gums and early cavitations as well as cavities on the back side of the upper front teeth.
So now that you know, LIFT THAT LIP often, brush, floss, use good judgement on snacks and come see us every six months. We will help with checking on the back teeth, making sure there are no cavities between the teeth and guiding you through great oral hygiene habits as well as answering any other questions you might have about those adorable smiles!