Do baby teeth matter?

toddler caressing a white bunny

Of course, baby teeth matter! All teeth matter, right? But with tooth decay becoming an increasing cause of hospital admission, many primary school children don’t seem to act as if they need to care about their baby teeth. Why?

There are cultural differences here; in most of Europe and America, children’s dentistry is considered very important and often prioritised over adult dentistry. This is reflected in the structure of the NHS with children and senior dentistry getting far more attention and containing a much larger array of treatments than adult dental care. This is not the same over the entire world. In Southeast Asia and China, children’s dental care is considered largely irrelevant with even basic hygiene not being expected until the first adult teeth emerge. Dental aesthetics are largely seen as a female preoccupation.

Temporary equals irrelevant?
woman holding her baby

This underlying change seems to be based on our interactions between the temporary and the permanent. Traditionally, things that last longer were given more value, and those with the shortest shelf life weren’t, but that simply isn’t the case anymore. People don’t pick up their mobile phones expecting them to last for decades, but they still want the highest quality phone for the time they have them. Just because children’s teeth are temporary doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be kept to the highest possible standards whilst they’re around. There are both physical and social consequences to having poor quality teeth.

Not to mention the physical discomfort that comes along with cavities and higher sugar intake, the general dietary habits of children tend to be worse than adults. This exposes them to rapidly forming cavities; the enamel layer on children’s teeth is also significantly thinner than that of adults, exposing them to a higher risk of acid damage and possible temperature sensitivity.

Getting to know the dentist…

Beyond any interventions that may be required, there is value in simply becoming acquainted with and normalising the routine of going to the dentist Welwyn Garden City. The truth is that there are very few significant procedures that may need to be carried out. But having the attitude that your local dentist is there to help and that 6-month checkups are a normal and appropriate thing to do is imperative for accessing dental care in the future.

Developing an aversion or nervousness around dental care can be hugely costly in the long term with phobic patients often increasing the severity of their conditions, resulting in a lot more discomfort and cost than what would be necessary with early intervention.

Orthodontic treatment

One of the first treatments that are applicable in childhood is orthodontic care. The position of infant teeth can have a big impact on permanent teeth as they push their way through and find their initial starting locations.

Baby teeth can be strategically extracted to make room for the erupting adult ones. The first few adult teeth do have a habit of migrating significantly, which allows early orthodontic solutions to be considered and planned so that treatment can begin as early as possible.

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