Teeth are a critical part of the body. From the time a “baby tooth” erupts, parents must consider oral health care as an important part of the child’s overall health. While the primary teeth will fall out during a child’s elementary school years, they are still important to a child’s health and development. The primary teeth help a child chew, eat, and receive proper nutrition, they help kids learn to speak clearly, they boost self-esteem with a beautiful smile, and they provide a place for the permanent teeth to erupt.

That’s why even primary teeth require a great deal of dental care – both at home and in the dentist’s office. Primary teeth are susceptible to cavities just as adult teeth are. In addition to the damage a cavity can cause to oral health, having a cavity filled as a young child can be scary and overwhelming.

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In addition to cavities, children can also have other oral health care problems like gum disease and other dental infections. While these are harmful to adults, they can be even more hurtful to children who don’t have fully developed immune systems.

Helping children avoid cavities with brushing and flossing is a great first step to proper oral health care. As important is the need to develop a great relationship with a dentist. These early activities not only ensure healthy teeth in the primary teeth years, they help to ensure healthy habits, and healthy teeth, in future years. As parents know, healthy permanent teeth are important to nutrition, self-esteem, and speech.

Once a child begins to lose their baby teeth and have them replaced with permanent teeth, it remains important for parents to stay involved in the teeth care process. For example, because many children are physically able at this age to brush their own teeth, parents simply ask if it was done. In addition to making sure the activity is checked off the proverbial list, parents should check to make sure that the child is properly brushing their teeth and using floss. Cavities and other dental problems often occur when the food particles get stuck in between teeth or on the hard to reach back teeth. Parents should continue to ensure the child is removing all food particles before completely handing over the tooth care duties to the child.

Dr. Dean Dietrich has been helping Illinois parents help their children install proper oral care habits for many years. He can show you different techniques to practice with your child and conduct exams to make sure that teeth brushing is effective. For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Pleasant Dental® office, call today.

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