Across England, 23% of five-year-olds have had dental decay. In our latest blog, we’re talking about the importance of looking after your little one’s teeth.
If baby teeth fall out anyway, why is it important to keep them healthy and decay free?
Even though baby teeth start to fall out between the ages of 5 and 6, they serve several important functions which contribute to the development of a healthy child. Some of the back baby teeth are present until 12 years old and beyond so it’s vital to get into the habit of daily brushing to ensure your little ones understand the importance of looking after their teeth when they’re older. If teeth are not cared for, they can cause pain and decay which will require treatment and if baby teeth are lost prematurely, the spaces for adult teeth to come through into can be reduced.
How do baby teeth affect your little one’s speech, smile and eating?
The appearance of teeth can impact a child’s confidence, social skills, and emotional development. Teeth are important components for making sounds and enable little ones to eat a balanced and varied diet. If baby teeth are lost prematurely, it can lead to permanent problems with pronunciation. Also, difficulties with toothache can result in disturbed sleep and missed days from school and can impact on the whole family as parents and caregivers may need to miss work to attend appointments with their little ones. The enamel on baby teeth is thinner than on adult teeth, making the teeth more susceptible to tooth decay. It is a largely preventable problem, yet around 1 in 4 children will start school with tooth decay.
Tips to look after baby teeth
Parents and guardians are encouraged to take children in their care to a dentist when their teeth start to come through and ideally by their first birthday. NHS dental treatment is free for mothers with children under 1.
If you live in England, you can find details of how to find an NHS dentist at www.nhs.uk in the NHS Services section, click on ‘find a dentist’. If you can’t find a dentist accepting NHS patients, you should call NHS England’s Customer Contract Centre on 0300 311 2233.