Milk Teeth (Baby Teeth) are as important as the permanent teeth. Parents think milk teeth are anyways going to shed and so taking care of them is not important at all. But that is not the case. The milk teeth are as important as the permanent teeth. The care for the milk teeth is almost the same as it is for the permanent teeth.
7 Things Parents Should Know About Milk Teeth (Baby Teeth)!
1. There is only one set of milk teeth
Many times parents ask that their child has lost a milk tooth early due to either cavity or trauma and will the child get the milk tooth again. The answer is NO. The milk tooth will only be replaced by the permanent tooth when the time comes. There is only one set of milk teeth and one set of permanent teeth.
So, make sure the child has all the milk teeth intact till the age of eruption of the permanent teeth. The child should be taken to a dentist if there is a cavity or any kind of injury to the tooth. Do not ignore.
Related: Baby Developmental Milestones 0-12 months
2. Milk teeth are as important as the permanent teeth
Many have a notion that milk teeth are not very important and they are anyways going to be replaced by the permanent teeth. But again this is not true as milk teeth have a purpose.
- They help in chewing.
- They help in giving the child a beautiful smile and therefore confidence.
- They act as space maintainers before the eruption of the permanent teeth.
- They help the child to speak properly (clarity of words).
So, the milk teeth have their own purpose and it should not be ignored.
3. Some kids are born with 2 lower milk teeth
Some kids are born with a set of lower front teeth (natal teeth). Most of the times these are the milk teeth and if extracted will not be replaced until the age of 6 years by the permanent teeth. These teeth might be loose and need extraction after birth. It is okay to get them extracted if they are loose or hindering in breastfeeding or the child is in trouble because of the teeth.
4. It is not okay if the milk teeth have cavities
Yes, it is not ok if the milk teeth have cavities. Milk teeth will be replaced by the permanent teeth but all the permanent teeth except the third molars (wisdom teeth) will erupt by the age of 12 years. And the milk teeth need to be preserved till the age of 12 years. They act as space maintainers for the permanent teeth and also cavities can cause pain and discomfort to the child.
Many times it is seen that the child is not eating well and is not gaining weight as the child is not able to chew the food properly. Healthy teeth helps in gaining proper nutrition. If the child eats well, the child will be more active and attentive.
So, cavities in the milk teeth are a big no. Visit a dentist every 6 months for a routine dental examination for your child. Any cavity present can be detected early and filled. The first dental visit of the child is mandatory by the child’s first birthday or 6 months within the eruption of first tooth, which ever is earlier.
Related: Why Does My Kid Have Discolored Teeth?
5. When do milk teeth start erupting?
Eruption of milk teeth can start any time between the age of 3 months to 18 months. Yes, sometimes the child might have delayed teething. If there is no teeth till the age of 18 months then best is to visit a pedodontist.
The child should get all the 20 teeth by the age of 3 years.
Related: Tooth Eruption Chart for Permanent Teeth
6. When do milk teeth start shedding?
Milk teeth start shedding between the age of 6-7 years but all the milk teeth are replaced by the permanent teeth only by the age of 11-12 years. So, preserving the milk teeth are very important.
Good oral hygiene should be maintained, and the parent or care giver should brush the child’s teeth at least till the age of 6-7 years and after that also the child should be supervised by an adult while brushing.
7. How to deal with teething pain?
Some children have no problem at all during teething and some have severe teething discomfort. You can do the following to comfort your child during teething.
- Massage the child’s gums using a clean moist cotton cloth few times in a day.
- Give your child cold silicone teethers to chew on. You can keep the teether in the fridge for half an hour (not the freezer) and give it to your child.
- Make sure the child doesn’t put anything dirty (hands or toys) in the mouth, as that is the reason for stomach infection.
- Start brushing your child’s teeth using a silicone finger brush as soon as the child gets the first tooth. You can start using a grain size of kids age appropriate fluoridated toothpaste.
It is a myth that teething causes high grade fever. Teething only causes one degree rise in temperature and nothing more than that. If the child is having fever, please visit a pediatrician.
Tilasmi moti is regarded by many as a problem solver for teething pain, but that is not the case and according to FDA teething jewelries should not be used. Here is a detailed article on why Tilasmi moti is a terrible idea.
Related: Grinding of Teeth in Toddlers
Like the other organs of the body, milk teeth are also very important, which are generally neglected. The parents or the guardians should be aware of how to take care of the milk teeth of the child. Any concerns should be discussed with the dentist and the treatment initiated if required.
This blog provides general information about milk teeth . The opinion and content on this blog is only for conversational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical or dental advice pertaining to any particular individual. If the reader or any other person has a medical or dental concern, he or she should consult with an appropriate licensed medical or dental physician or a health care provider.
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