It’s children’s dental health month. For the past twenty years, I have been a part of this nationally recognized dental declaration. But, why do we have such a month, and what do parents need to know about their kids’ dental health?
Historically speaking, many people used to think baby teeth (or primary teeth in the dental world) were expendable. Why worry about these teeth when a new set would come in later?That logic seems reasonable, but let me tell you why there is more to it than just getting a new set of teeth in the future. Baby teeth aid in the development of speech. They help children chew their food properly, and they hold the place for the permanent teeth to come in later on.
When kids lose their teeth prematurely due to trauma or due to cavities and ultimate extraction, they have to work harder to learn to speak, and they have to work harder to chew their food properly. Additionally, when there is early tooth loss, the other teeth begin to push forward and the gap left open for the permanent teeth closes. That can cause crowding and even impaction of big teeth up into the jaw.
Aside from these physical reasons to keep baby teeth as healthy as possible, there are many psychological reasons to keep baby teeth well-preserved. A child’s self-esteem is impacted by their smile. Kids with brown spots on their teeth or those with missing teeth learn to hide their smiles and feel self-conscious about smiling. Pain involved with a tooth infection also leaves lasting impressions about dentistry. The faster a child can have a good experience and learn to take care of his or her teeth, the better off they are for a lifetime of dental health. As dentists, we try hard to help families prevent these mental woes by teaching the whole family how to care for their teeth and avoid cavities, extractions and even trauma.
Teaching and learning and growing is at the heart of our practice. We not only teach kids how to brush better and make better food choices, but we also work with the parents to offer our expertise and guidance in an ever-changing world. Baby teeth do give us a chance to catch problems early so that the permanent adult teeth will have a better chance of survival for an entire lifetime. With today’s technology and knowledge, there are few reasons to lose our adult teeth.
Great habits and a sound knowledge base starts early at age one when most babies develop their first tooth. This is the best time to start to see a dentist–before problems arise. Over and over again, I have heard parents say, “I wish I would have known this information earlier,” when I explain what causes cavities. If you have a child or a grandchild, or a if you watch kids, make sure they see a dentist at least once a year. These little teeth are not expendable. They are vital to a child’s overall health and wellness.
If your child has not seen a dentist yet, give my office a call and let’s check that necessary health need off the list! Our office number is 517-332-1000.
Dr. Lisa Knowles
Dr. Knowles graduated from Alma College in 1994 with a major in communication and a minor in biochemistry. She finished dental school in 1998 at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Following dental school, she completed a one-year general practice residency where she received additional training in hospital dentistry, pediatric dentistry, trauma-based dentistry, and oral surgery. With almost twenty years of experience, you can be assured Dr. Knowles is well–trained and ready to care for your entire family.