Myths and Facts about Baby Teeth

The myths in pediatric dentistry are no less in number and volume than the ancient Greek myths and legends. For me, as a pediatric dentist, having good interactions with the parents of our little patients is very important, as is ensuring that they have accurate information about cleanings and checkups for baby teeth.

Myth 1

– We should go to the dentist only when we have an issue. The truth is that having regular dental checkups is the easiest way to maintain our health and the health of our children. Checkups allow us to catch dental problems in the early stages, which means less invasive and cheaper treatments as compared to the treatment of possible future complications that may arise.

Myth 2

– Diet is not connected to cavities. Diet is directly related to the creation of cavities. The comsumption of lots of candy, sodas, snacks, and chips between meals leads to a continuous build up of food materials on your teeth that serve as a breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria that attack the enamel (especially when you are not maintaining adequate dental hygiene). Over time the enamel starts to decay and cavities form in these areas.

Myth 3

– It is not necessary to treat baby teeth. Baby teeth, much like permanent teeth, consist of enamel and dentin, which also start to decay in high acidic environments and when there is an invasion of bacteria. Cavities in baby teeth develop much faster because they are smaller and the degree to which the enamel has been mineralized is much smaller than in permanent teeth.

Myth 4

– Baby teeth do not have roots and that is why they don’t hurt. Each baby tooth consists of a crown and a root, in which a neurovascular bundle (i.e., the nerve) is located and alerts us to pain and other sensations. As permanent teeth start to erupt the roots of the baby teeth gradually “dissolve”, which is why when they fall out they only consist of a crown.

Myth 5

– You should not regularly brush baby teeth because doing so will remove the enamel. False! It is exactly between the ages of 2 and 6 when good dental hygiene habits are the easiet to form. Creating the habit of brushing twice a day is like teaching a child to get in the habit of washing their hands. Brushing also develops fine motor skills, therefore encourage kids to brush their teeth so they can get smarter while doing so:)

Myth 6

– Baby teeth can be cleaned with any type of toothbrush and toothpaste. This is false. The items used for the oral hygiene of children must be chosen based on their age and specific needs.

Myth 7

– Fluoride: friend or enemy?
Fluoride is one of the microelements ensuring the strength of our teeth. In Latin America and in the US flouride is taken during both pregnancy and after giving birth, following a specific protocol. In Europe it is primarily recommended as an exogenous (external) factor in the form of gels for extra mineralization following tooth eruption. In both cases, the idea is to increase a tooth’s resistance to forming cavities.

Tsvetelina Ducheva D.M.D.

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