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All children are special little beings indeed. Their eyes are filled with wonder, their brains with colourful imaginings, their tummies with pangs for delicious snacks, and their mouths with funny little words and cute little teeth.
Remember how adorable your baby looked when those two front teeth emerged? Soon, there’s a full-blown smile and a reason to start caring for those little pearly whites.
The presence of milk teeth begs one question from most parents: do they really require special care? After all, aren’t they just supposed to eventually make way for permanent teeth?
Let’s start answering that question with this amazing but little-known fact: the health of your baby’s milk teeth sets the foundation for strong permanent teeth. Thus, it is essential that milk teeth do, in fact, receive special care!
How Are Milk Teeth Unique?
These little pearls of knowledge will help you understand your little one’s baby teeth better so that you can then properly care for them!
- Even though it may look like your baby is born without teeth, their milk teeth are hiding underneath, waiting to erupt.
- Your child will get his or her milk or primary teeth between the ages of 6 months to 3 years and will lose them between the ages of 6 to 12 years.
- The roots of milk teeth are thinner and smaller, which allows them to fall out easily when the permanent teeth are ready to erupt.
- Milk teeth have thinner and softer enamel, as compared to adult permanent teeth, and thus look whiter and translucent.
- Cavities can spread through milk or primary tooth quite quickly, due to the thinner enamel and larger pulp chamber (the area of the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels).
- Children with cavities in their milk teeth are three times more likely to develop cavities in their permanent teeth.
- Milk teeth must be brushed regularly. Use toothpaste designed specifically for kids’ tender teeth, like the Colgate Kids range by age-group.
Why Is It Essential to Take Care of Milk Teeth?
There are several reasons why your child’s milk teeth need special attention and care. Look below:
1. Healthy teeth are essential for nutrition intake.
If a child’s teeth have cavities, feel loose and painful, or are misaligned, it can be difficult and uncomfortable for them to eat and chew properly. This can lead to nutrient deficiency and unfulfilled appetites, neither of which is optimal for a growing child.
2. Milk teeth are placeholders for permanent teeth.
One of the most important functions of milk teeth is to act as the perfect placeholder for the permanent teeth that are forming below them. Healthy milk or primary teeth that have not fallen out due to tooth decay will be replaced by well-aligned permanent teeth. However, if a milk tooth has a cavity or infection, and falls out prematurely, the neighbouring milk teeth might venture into its space, thus blocking the correct exit of the permanent tooth below. This will eventually lead to misaligned teeth, which come with their own set of problems.
The best way to prevent oral issues is to help your little one brush his teeth at least twice a day. It’s wise to start cleaning from the first tooth with the right type of toothpaste. Colgate Kids 0-2 Yrs is designed to be gentle on baby’s teeth and is completely safe with no artificial ingredients. As they grow their full set of milk teeth and start snacking, you can move to Colgate Kids 2-5 Yrs toothpaste which protects against cavities while cleaning gently. The Kids range caters to the special needs of tender milk teeth.
3. Healthy milk teeth are important for healthy permanent teeth.
Just as milk teeth determine the alignment of permanent teeth, they are also fortune-tellers of their health and development. As milk teeth are soft and thin, cavities can form and spread quickly through them. There is research that shows that children with cavities in their milk teeth are three times more likely to develop cavities in their permanent teeth.
4. Healthy teeth are confidence boosters.
Children are full of smiles, giggles, and laughter over the silliest of things. While we as adults might love to see a child give a big, goofy grin that shows missing or misaligned teeth, their friends or playmates may not be as kind. Having teeth that give painful sensations or make eating difficult can be a source of discomfort for a child and can hamper how they feel about themselves. It can lead to low self-confidence, which can affect school performance and social skills.
5. Milk teeth affect speech development.
This also plays a role in a child’s self-confidence. Healthy, well-aligned milk teeth improve word pronunciations and language development, while misaligned or painful teeth can lead to garbled speech or a lisp. Kids who lisp as toddlers are considered adorable, but if the child does not grow out of it as he grows older, it can lead to problems with learning, self-esteem, and social skills.
Caring for your child’s milk teeth does not have to be an elaborate procedure. Maintain a daily routine of brushing and flossing, and use products designed to take care of their tender teeth. Colgate Kids toothpaste & toothbrush have products across age groups that cater to evolving needs of children’s teeth.
If you wish to know more about Colgate Kids Oral Care Range, view them here.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics for children. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.