Pregnancy week by week



What can a parent do to prevent decay in baby teeth?

By Nick Messe May 30, 2012

Preventing tooth decay in baby teeth is crucial to ensure your child has a healthy smile for many years. Some parents wonder if preventing decay in baby teeth should be a major concern. If the baby teeth will be falling out eventually, is it really that important to protect them now? The answer to that question is yes.

Losing baby teeth too early due to decay can have numerous consequences for your child. Most importantly, baby teeth are essential to developing proper speech patterns. If your child is missing one or more teeth, his or her speech could be impaired. Additionally, missing teeth can cause children to develop unnatural chewing patterns and can also cause a misalignment of the jaw.

Another reason baby teeth need to be cared for thoroughly is to protect your child's self-esteem. Missing teeth or obvious spots of decay can be a source of embarrassment. Additionally, the possible speech problems brought about by missing baby teeth can especially contribute to a loss of self-confidence and may result in your child being less willing to speak up in school.

Finally, prematurely lost baby teeth may also affect the way in which permanent teeth grow in and may require your child to get braces or other cosmetic dentistry later on. To prevent adult teeth from growing in crooked, dentists who extract a baby tooth may put a metal space saver in your child's mouth. All this dental work can be a highly traumatic experience for a child. Even a few simple fillings can make your child afraid of the dentist.

For these reasons, protecting your child's baby teeth is highly important. Here are some tips to help you prevent decay in your child's baby teeth. Even before your child's first tooth comes in, you should begin cleaning your baby's mouth twice daily with a soft cloth. This practice will help keep your child's mouth clean and allow them to get used to cleaning their teeth.

When your child is young, make tooth-brushing a fun experience. Sing songs to your child as you brush his or her teeth, instructing your child how to reach and clean every surface of each tooth. Make tooth-brushing a game your child looks forward to. Make sure your children eat a healthy and nutritious diet that is low in sugar. Keep fruit juices to a minimum, as they contain high levels of sugar and acid.

Finally, model good dental behavior yourself. If you set the right example, your children will be more likely to follow you. Forming good dental habits at a young age is crucial, and establishing these habits may be the single best way to prevent tooth decay in your children's teeth. By following these dental practices, you can fight decay and ensure they have a healthy, happy smile.