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Posts for tag: Permanent teeth

When our children are infants, their baby teeth are a BIG deal. We spend hours consoling them as they drool and gnaw on their hands during the teething process. We mark the date of their first tooth’s arrival in their baby books. We get just as excited as they do the first time they get to put their tooth under their pillow and eagerly await the tooth fairy.

So, why then, do many people feel like baby teeth aren’t as important as permanent teeth? The answer is right in that one word- permanent. Because we know that our “big” teeth are meant to last for life, we somehow get the idea that our children’s baby teeth, that we know they will lose at some point, must not be that important. After all, they get replaced, right?

Wrong! Baby teeth, despite their small stature and their shorter life span, serve many important roles in your child’s long-term oral health and development.

Promote good nutrition through proper chewing
Just as adult, or permanent, teeth do, the baby teeth serve the important role of biting, gnashing and chewing our food so that our bodies can readily digest the nutrients. Missing or painful baby teeth can make the child hesitant to eat certain foods which can cause them to lose out on much-needed nutrients.

Serve as space holders for the permanent teeth and provide a path for permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to erupt
Baby teeth are essentially a road map for the permanent teeth to follow, and when removed prematurely, before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, it can cause long-term problems, even changing the structure of the child’s jaw bone and face. The permanent teeth may come in improperly, or possibly not at all, and your child could require orthodontic treatment to correct the problem.

Build self-esteem by providing a beautiful smile
Children naturally love to smile and find joy in the world. Beautiful baby teeth help them to do so. Even a young child can begin to feel self-conscious of missing or decayed teeth.

Enable the child to pay attention and learn in school without the distraction of dental pain.
It’s simple. Healthy teeth don’t hurt. In fact, kids don’t even think about their teeth when they are healthy. However, decayed teeth can cause a lot of pain! This pain can prevent them from getting adequate sleep, interrupt their day, and be distractive, preventing your child from excelling at school.

So, while it’s tempting to skip brushing your young child’s teeth when life gets busy, remember these small teeth play a BIG role in your child’s oral health and development. And remember, the care and importance that you give to their baby teeth will influence how they take care of their teeth on their own.

Taking care of your young child’s teeth can be simple. Follow these rules and help your child’s smile shine bright.

1)     Start brushing as soon as your child gets his or her first tooth. Brush twice a day, even if it’s just for a short amount of time.

2)     Floss any teeth that touch.

3)     Limit sugary drinks, even juice.

4)     Don’t go to bed with any drinks other than water.

5)     Model good oral health by taking care of your own teeth! Kids learn by watching their parents.

6)     Schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist within six months of the arrival of their first tooth, or by their one-year old     birthday. Early prevention and monitoring, as well as education about good oral health, will help prevent problems.

 

As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wants to be your go-to resource for helping to educate parents and children alike, and giving all children the beautiful smiles that they deserve. If you are looking for a dental home for your child, give us a call at 864-760-1440, and let us give you Something to Smile About!

My daughter is six years old and has lost all of her front baby teeth. Now that most of her adult teeth are growing in, we are really stressing the importance of flossing every day. This past weekend, while looking in the mirror, she asked me, “Why are my big kid teeth so yellow?”

 

Don’t get me wrong. Her smile is beautiful. However, compared to her shiny white baby teeth, her permanent teeth do appear darker and a bit more yellow. She’s noticed this, and I bet some more kids around her age have noticed this about their teeth, too.

 

We get this question all the time from concerned parents. Believe it or not, it is perfectly normal. Adult teeth, because of their composition, do have a different tone than baby teeth and often appear yellow, especially when they erupt right next to brilliant white baby teeth.

 

Young adult teeth, when they first come in, have a larger proportion of nerve in them, compared to when the child is 17 or 18. The large amount of nerve, and the fact that the tooth is hollower and less dense, gives it a yellow appearance. As the healthy teeth age, the nerve shrinks and the tooth thickens from the inside, giving it a whiter appearance.

 

Adult teeth also have more dentin in them, which has a dark yellow to brownish hue. When the tooth’s enamel is thin, the yellow color from the dentin shows through more.

 

So what can you do to whiten your kid’s teeth and should you?

 

Good oral hygiene is the key. Regular brushing and flossing and good dental habits will usually resolve these issues in time. As the child’s tooth grows and thickens, it will lose some of the yellow hue caused by the nerve and dentin showing through the enamel. However, regular brushing and flossing will keep the plaque at bay and the tooth and gums healthy.

 

Use a spinbrush at home. Sometimes these brushes can be more efficient for children than simply brushing, as they are able to get into the crevices better. Often, it just makes brushing more appealing to young children and will encourage them to brush more, helping to remove surface stains. You can find inexpensive options in nearly every store.

 

Encourage a Tooth-Friendly Diet. Avoiding sugary and carbonated drinks, as well as sodas, coffees and teas will help avoid staining. Also, highly acidic foods and sour candies can erode the enamel on teeth. The enamel acts as a protective barrier and helps keep teeth white. Thin or eroded enamel will lead to discolored teeth, as the dentin and nerves will be more visible.

 

Remember, slightly yellow-appearing permanent teeth are different from very stained or discolored teeth, or those with white or brown spots on them. Dark staining and/or spots can be a sign of a medical problem and needs to be evaluated by your dentist.

 

At this age, we typically do not recommend whitening treatments or products for most children, as time typically resolves the issue. However, if your child’s teeth are stained, have spots on them, or cause your child stress or embarrassment, please come in to see us, as we can evaluate his or her teeth to rule out any medical reasons for the discoloration and also discuss safe and effective whitening methods.

 

As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is always available to discuss your questions and concerns regarding your child’s dental health. We want all children to have a smile they can be proud of and to give all our parents and kids Something to Smile About!