Your baby's teeth play an important role in how your child eats and how her jaw and face grow, and will eventually influence how she speaks. Most importantly, these little teeth pave the way for adult teeth, acting not just as space savers, but also maintaining optimal gum health in preparation for the teeth she'll have for the rest of her life.
What's the best way to protect your little one's teeth? We've collected 10 common questions and answers about baby teeth to help you get started.
1. What can you expect at the first pediatric dental appointment?
According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), the dentist will sit knee-to-knee with the parent, the child in the parent's lap, and either watch how the parent brushes the child's teeth or see how older children brush by themselves. The dentist will also look at the child's teeth and gums during the visit. "This pleasant, painless visit should take no more than 15 minutes," says Dr. Cynthia E. Sherwood, DDS, and spokesperson for AGD.
The dentist may also do the following on the first visit, according to the AGD:
- Gently examine the jaw, bite, gums, and oral tissues
- Gently clean the teeth—polishing, and removing plaque, tartar build-up, and stains
- Demonstrate proper home cleaning
- Assess whether fluoride is needed
2. How can you get a good start in oral health for your children?
Your attitude toward your child's baby teeth is an important beginning. The AGD says don't think baby teeth don't matter "because they just fall out anyway," and don't allow children to have continual access to a bottle or sippy cup filled with anything other than water.