Baby Teeth Myth #1: Baby Teeth Are Not Important Since They Fall Out In A Few Years

As we mentioned before, baby teeth are very important to a child’s proper development, but there’s more to it than just that. Baby teeth hold spaces for and facilitate the growth of permanent teeth. If a baby tooth falls out too early due to tooth decay, adjacent permanent teeth may migrate into the space, causing gaps, crowding, and angled teeth. This will likely result in your child needing braces in the future. In addition, infected or decayed teeth (even cavities) can pass along bacteria to the permanent tooth waiting below.

Baby Teeth Myth #2: A Child Having Cavities is Nearly Inevitable

Actually, almost 100% of cavities are preventable. Some people believe that children are more likely to get cavities due to genetic predisposition or that it’s just something that the majority of kids have to deal with. But the truth is that lifestyle is the biggest factor that contributes to whether or not someone gets cavities. The amount of sugar they eat (including starches and other carbohydrates) and how often they brush and floss their teeth are primary influences on cavity development, and these behaviors are often learned. By teaching your child to moderate their sugar intake and to properly brush and floss their teeth, you can help them avoid cavities.

Baby Teeth Myth #3: When Children Have All of Their Baby Teeth, They Can Brush Them on Their Own

Your child having all of their baby teeth does not mean they are ready to take care of said teeth on their own. Not only do pre-kindergarten children not have the mentality to properly brush their teeth (they usually only focus on the ones they can see), but they also do not develop the physical dexterity to do so until they are about six or seven years old.

Baby Teeth Myth #4: Children Don’t Need to See the Dentist until They Start Losing their Baby Teeth and their Permanent Teeth Start Coming In

Here’s an important fact about baby teeth and oral health care in general: caring for your child’s teeth actually begins before they even have any. You should start wiping their gums with clean gauze or a washcloth during infancy in order to prevent any sugary residue from staying in their mouth. In the same way, a child’s first dentist visit should occur around their first birthday or when their first tooth erupts, whichever comes first. This allows your child’s dentist to determine if there will be any issues with the development of your child’s teeth. Maintaining regular dental visits from such an early age also has the added benefit of getting your child used to the dentist (so they might be less anxious about it in the future).

Baby Teeth Myth #5: Flossing Isn’t Important Before Losing Baby Teeth

If you aren’t flossing your child’s teeth beginning the moment he or she has two teeth that touch, your child is at a higher risk of tooth decay. About a third of the average tooth’s surface can only be reached by using floss. If you don’t clear out the bacteria that a toothbrush can’t reach, it continues to grow, feed, and produce the acids that attack your child’s teeth and cause decay.

Baby Teeth Myth #6: Children Should Try to Pull Loose Teeth

While it is true that you should encourage your child to wiggle a loose tooth, you should remind them not to pull out a tooth before it is ready to fall out on its own. Even if your child can completely rotate the tooth around, the root has not yet fully disintegrated. A broken root (one that was attached to a tooth pulled before it was ready) is more susceptible to infection and can lead to other problems. If a tooth is stubbornly refusing to come out and the permanent tooth is beginning to erupt, you should ask your child’s dentist how to proceed.

Baby Teeth Myth #7: If the New Teeth Look Darker, There is a Problem

Next to their pristinely white baby teeth, your child’s permanent teeth may look darker in addition to being bigger. This doesn’t mean that they’ve already started to decay. That’s just the way the new adult teeth look; they are naturally not as white and light as baby teeth, in fact. As far as size, don’t worry, your child will grow into their new, permanent teeth.

Baby Teeth Myth #8: If a Child Starts Losing Baby Teeth Before They Are Five Years Old, or Doesn’t Start Losing Baby Teeth by Eight, There’s a Problem

Five or six years old is about the average time that children start losing baby teeth, but that doesn’t mean it’s a hard and fast rule. If your child’s baby teeth started erupting earlier or later than average (usually 6-12 months old), then it’s likely that they will also start losing baby teeth at a different time than other children. If, however, you believe damage or trauma caused your child to lose baby teeth, then you should see a dentist. It is also a good idea to mention to your dentist if your child hasn’t started losing baby teeth by age eight at their next appointment, just to be certain there isn’t a problem.

What to Do Now That You Know these Baby Teeth Facts

During this time, it is crucial to continue caring for your child’s teeth – both baby teeth and permanent teeth – and to bring your child to see a dentist every six months. The dentist can regularly assess any issues with losing baby teeth and with new teeth erupting, thereby addressing or even preventing orthodontic issues in the future.

If you’re ready to schedule an appointment for your child to discuss and evaluate the loss of their baby teeth, the skilled dental professionals at the McDonough Center for Family Dentistry are here to help in a comfortable, friendly environment. Call (678) 432-0209 or fill out our short online form to schedule an appointment!

We look forward to getting to know you and your family!