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March 10, 2020

Children’s Dental Health Month, Baby Teeth are Important

February Is National Children’s Dental Health Month.  While Children Are Growing And Developing Certain Patterns Are Established That Later Cannot Be Changed.  As Such, Health During Childhood Will Have Lifelong Implications For Overall Health Including The Baby (Deciduous) Teeth.

In This Article I Will Focus On The Health And Maintenance Of The Baby Teeth.  Most Children Will Start Getting Their Baby Incisor (Front) Teeth Erupt Into The Mouth Around Age 6 Months And The Last Baby Molars Will Erupt Into The Mouth Around Age 3.  The First Baby Teeth To Be Lost Are The Front Teeth, About Age 6, Followed Last By The Molars By Age 12.  The Baby Teeth Play A Very Crucial Roll In The Growth And Development Of The Jaws And Airway And In Social Development.

The Baby Teeth Are Extremely Important For Growth And Development Of The Jaws.  As Teeth Erupt Into The Mouth The Bone Around These Teeth Provides A Frame For The Future Adult Teeth.  When Baby Teeth Are Missing Or Lost Early The Jaw Does Not Grow Properly In These Areas Leading To Malformation And Undergrowth.  A Common Result Of Missing Teeth Is Crowding Of The Adult Teeth, Malformed Jaws, A Small Airway And Sometimes Socialization Issues.

Breast Feeding Is Extremely Important For The First 6-12 Months Of Life And The Addition Of, And Eventual Transition To, Solid Foods Helps Develop The Jaws.  The Proper Sucking Action Of Breast Feeding Develops The Jaws And Is Not Replicated By Bottles Or Pacifiers.  Tongue And Lip Ties Will Interfere With Proper Feeding And Impair Development.  Solid Foods Stimulate The Muscles, Teeth And Bones Of The Face And Greatly Influence Proper Growth.  Processed, Purified Baby Foods Should Be Avoided As A Main Food Source And Only Used To Supplement Solid Foods If Needed.  Improper Feeding Habits From Bottle Feeding To Soft Foods Will Lead To Underdevelopment Of The Jaws And Airway.

The Roof Of The Mouth Is Also The Base Of The Nose.  Proper Feeding, Nasal Breathing And Tongue Position Is What Directs Development Of The Jaws And Airway.  When These Things Are Working Together The Jaws, Airway, Teeth And Tongue Develop Properly And All Work In Harmony.

It Is Important That Baby Teeth Stay Healthy.  I Have Already Mentioned That Proper Nasal Breathing, Breast Feeding, And Solid Foods Will Stimulate Proper Facial Growth, They Also Foster Healthy, Cavity Free Teeth.  Sometimes After Doing All These Things The Correct Way Your Child May Still Get A Cavity.  It Is Important To Keep Baby Teeth Until The Adult Teeth Are Ready To Replace Them.  Early Loss Of Baby Teeth Leads To Bone Loss, Crowding, Malformation Of The Jaws, Airway Underdevelopment And Possible Socialization Issues.

Treating A Baby Tooth With Decay Has Been Done For Years With Either Fillings, For Small Cavities, Or Temporary Crowns, For Large Cavities.  Today There Is A New Option For Some Cavities, Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF).  SDF Is A Treatment That Can Arrest A Cavity Rendering It Inactive.  This Treatment Alternative Will Allow For Preservation Of The Baby Tooth And Avoid The Need For Injections And Drilling Which Can Be Very Difficult With Young And Active Children.  SDF Treatment Can Be Used On Any Tooth, Not Just Baby Teeth.  It Does Have The Downside; It Stains Only The Decay Area Dark Brown/Black.  If This Dark Area Is In An Area Where It Looks Bad, A White Filling Can Be Placed Removing The Stained Area.

In Summary, Baby Teeth Are Extremely Important For The Growth And Development Of Every Child.  It Is Important To Nasal Breath, Eat Properly And Start Seeing The Dentist When The Baby Teeth Start To Erupt And On A Regular Schedule Thereafter.

Dr. Robert A. Gallegos Is A Fellow In The Academy Of General Dentistry, Visiting Faculty Of Spear Education, A Member The American Academy Of Dental Sleep Medicine, The American Academy Of Cosmetic Dentistry, And The American And Virginia Dental Associations.  Dr. Gallegos Practices Dentistry In Middleburg, VA.  Www.MiddleburgSmiles.Com.

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