Baby Teeth, also called “primary teeth” are important building blocks for a healthy mouth. It is a mistake to undervalue the importance of primary teeth. Primary teeth help children speak and chew, they hold space within the jaw for the permanent teeth that are growing under the child’s gums and they are part of the correct development of jaw and facial muscles.

Primary teeth usually begin to appear when a baby is between 6 months and 1 year. As many parents can attest, this is a painful time for both the baby and the parents. Some babies have tender, sore or swollen gums as the teeth emerge. Rubbing the babies’ gums with a cool cloth or gauze pad can offer some relief. You can also try giving the baby a clean, BPA/Phthalate free teething ring to chew on.

By taking some important early steps, parents can help their children establish habits that will ensure their healthy smile lasts throughout their lifetime. The Canadian Dental Association recommends that a child see a dentist within six months of eruption of the first tooth. A dentist will check for tooth decay and other problems, and can show you how to clean the child’s teeth properly. A dentist will also help parents assess adverse habits such as thumb sucking and grinding. By taking children to the dentist regularly, they become much more comfortable having their mouths cared for, and they learn that going to the dentist will help prevent future problems and improve health and well-being.

Some parents are skeptical when dentists recommend filling in a baby tooth. However, it is important to fix a compromised primary tooth because it can stay in a child’s mouth until the child is twelve. A broken or decayed tooth can make chewing difficult, and it can become infected and be harmful to the child’s health. If decay spreads, the tooth may have to be pulled and if this happens, a space maintainer may be needed in order to hold space for a permanent tooth. A noticeably decayed tooth can also have adverse effects on a child’s self image.

So, my advice to parents is this, take your children to the dentist when they are young and take them regularly. Tell them that it is fun and do not tell them that they do not have to be scared. If you cue them to not be scared, they will ask, scared of what mum/dad? Make it a positive experience and as your dentist in Kelowna trust me, the preventative measures will help pay off in the long run.