April Nguyen, Oral Health Therapist In Melbourne (CDIC), Discusses the Importance of Your Child’s Baby Teeth.

In my years of experience working with children, I have noticed that a lot of parents harbour the misconception that their child’s baby (milk/deciduous) teeth are not as important as the adult ones because “they will eventually fall out”. Whilst this may be the case, these baby teeth are just as important to children as permanent teeth are to adults. They help your child to comfortably chew, eat, speak & smile which is very important for their nutrition, physical, mental and social development. More importantly these baby save space in the jaw for the future permanent teeth to erupt into. When the adult teeth are ready to erupt, the roots of the baby teeth slowly dissolve causing them to loosen and fall out and those adult teeth usually erupt into place.

If a baby tooth is lost too early, either to decay (holes in teeth) or trauma and the space in the jaw is not kept open with an appliance (called a space maintainer), the teeth on either side of the space will drift inwards and reduce the available room for the permanent tooth to erupt into. The new tooth is likely to grow crooked erupting into an ectopic position, causing tooth crowding and bite irregularities. This makes it harder to keep the teeth clean and increase the chances of dental diseases. Correcting these problems often requires expensive and lengthy orthodontic treatment later on.

At CDIC, our emphasis is on creating good dental habits in children from a very young age. Our Oral Health Therapists, who are specially trained to treat children, recommend the first check up for a child at around 1-2 years of age. This helps to “desensitise” young children to the dental surgery, the sounds and smells and involves just a quick look in the mouth to make sure that the teeth are disease free, a suitable level of oral hygiene is being achieve and the teeth are erupting and mouth developing at the expected rate. It is important to rule out the possible existence of some oral developmental abnormalities such as tongue tie, labial frenums, minor clefts etc. This appointment may also include some dietary counselling and tailored oral hygiene instructions for parents to help make sure they are on board and helping out with their child’s oral hygiene practices at home. With slightly older children around the kinder or primary school age, we offer a small “prophy” polish of their teeth using our electric toothbrush to get them used to having something non-invasive done at the dentist.

If you have been thinking about bringing your child to the dentist for their first dental visit (it is never too early or too late), why not bring them in these school holidays? We still have some appointment times remaining but be quick because they are filling fast! All kids coming to CDIC these school holidays will be receiving a show bag & dental hygiene pack which will include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss & lots more fun goodies. See you then!