This Is Why Your Child Needs To Keep Their Baby Teeth Healthy

Baby teeth are sometimes seen as an opportunity to mess up, as adult teeth will move in later anyway. Obviously you don't want your child to get a cavity, but if they did, you might not think it's such a big deal. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. If your child does something that causes them to lose a baby tooth before it's ready to come out, you could have problems in the future. Here's what you can expect from this scenario and how you can avoid it from happening.

What the Baby Teeth Do

Baby teeth and adult teeth are closer together than you might think. It isn't as though a baby tooth falls out and then an adult tooth starts to move in. The adult tooth is always right behind the baby tooth, and once it starts to push, that's when the baby tooth falls out.

In this way, the baby tooth acts like a guide for the adult tooth. It keeps the gums opened up and allows the adult tooth to move into the same alignment where the baby tooth was.

What Happens When They're Missing

When a baby tooth has to be removed or falls out because of severe tooth decay or another oral health problem, it comes out before it's time to.  This means that the adult tooth no longer has any guidance. It can start to drift within the socket, making it come in crookedly. This will mean that your child will need braces in the future, or they may need help right away if the crooked tooth is getting in the way of other teeth that are coming in correctly.

What to Do

There's a couple of things you can do to avoid this problem. The first is simple: make sure your child is performing adequate oral hygiene at home. This means brushing after meals, or at least twice a day, and limiting sugar intake.

The second thing is that if you aren't already, make sure that your child is seeing the dentist as often as they should. Your dentist will recommend the number of visits per year that they want to see your child — try to stick with their recommendation.

If you see your child's dentist when they already have a severe cavity, they may be able to save it with a root canal. This will allow the baby tooth to perform its function while preventing your child from being in a lot of pain.

For more information, contact a children's dentist in your area.