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Understanding Your Child’s Teeth

smiling childYellow, crooked, or falling out teeth are au naturel, yet some parents panic at the sight of their little one’s less than perfect set of chompers. Although it’s entirely understandable to worry when something about your child’s teeth seems off, it’s also important to know that the majority of a child dental issues are common and natural.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most common dental concerns parents express. These include the yellowish color of their child’s sprouting permanent teeth, the emergence of crooked or misaligned teeth, and falling out teeth. While understandably worrisome, the reason behind each one is usually no cause for concern at all.

Explaining the Natural Conditions of Teeth

The American Dental Associates notes that “While most children have 20 primary teeth (10 in each of the upper and lower jaws), these teeth are eventually replaced by 32 permanent teeth, 16 in each jaw. The first permanent molars usually erupt between ages 6 and 7 years.” Furthermore, children lose all of their baby teeth and gain their permanent set of chompers at the age of 12 or 13.

Here are some of the natural conditions of teeth that are relatively harmless, but parents should keep an eye on:

  1. Yellow Teeth

It does seem alarming when your child’s baby teeth are much whiter than their permanent ones. But in most cases, the yellowish color of your little one’s permanent teeth is perfectly normal. Take note that the composition of permanent and baby teeth are entirely different. While both sets have an outer shell made of enamel, and an inner shell composed of yellow dentin — the ratio of dentin to enamel is much higher in permanent teeth. This means that the temporary sets of adorable teeth do appear much whiter than their permanent counterparts.

Additionally, yellow teeth can be a result of poor oral hygiene. Proper dental care begins before a baby’s first tooth appears. In fact, teeth start to form in the second trimester of pregnancy. At birth, your baby will already have 20 primary teeth, some of which are fully developed, but tucked under the jaw.

  1. Crooked Teeth

The alignment of your child’s teeth is mostly a product of your own genetics. Your child may grow up to have straight teeth if he or she inherits sufficient growth of both jaws, which accommodates the total tooth mass.

Even with good genetics, however, some environmental factors can impact tooth alignment as well. Habits like thumb or lip sucking can affect the growth of your little one’s teeth and cause crowding and shifting that cannot be resolved without dental braces. Also, factors such as cavities in baby teeth may lead to the loss of space in the dental arch and crowding in the permanent dentition.

The truth is, baby teeth are more important than you think. They are technically placeholders for permanent teeth, which brings up to the next condition:

  1. Falling Out Teeth

Your toddler losing his or her teeth is nothing to be worried about. All children grow an initial set of baby teeth, which dentists call “deciduous” or primary teeth. As stated earlier, a child’s first set of teeth will eventually fall out.

As your child grows up, his or her jaw will increase in size. As the gums expand, it allows each deciduous tooth to loosen and eventually fall out. A new tooth will appear as soon as a week, or sometimes as long as six months. Baby teeth play a crucial role in providing the foundation for adult teeth. They help develop the oral cavity and create the necessary space to guide permanent teeth into place.

How to Encourage Your Kids to Take Care of Their Teeth

Although all three conditions mentioned above are natural, it does not change the significance of proper oral hygiene. Getting kids to take care of their teeth is not always easy. On that note, here is a quick guide to encouraging all little ones to take better care of their teeth and gums:

  • Be a good example: Once you become a parent, you must be a representation of who your child wants to be when he or she grows up. When it comes to oral hygiene, be sure to lead by example. A child is playful and curious by nature. Therefore, they will watch and mimic your every move. If your child sees that you care about dental health and brush after every meal, they are likely to follow in your footsteps. So, use their curiosity to your good advantage while you still can.
  • Teach them: You can’t hand your child a toothbrush and expect them to know what to do. One of the best ways to ensure the health of your toddler’s teeth is to teach them how to brush with the appropriate amount of toothpaste. Once more of their permanent teeth emerge, you should teach them how to floss, too. Each morning and night, it helps to brush and floss together. Not only is it a form of parent-child bonding, but it also guarantees that your little one is practicing proper oral care.
  • Positive attitude: Staying optimistic about oral health does wonders in eliminating initial fears of the dentist. Instead of punishing them when they refuse to brush their teeth, say something like “Brushing your teeth will help defeat the villains (germs and cavities) living in your mouth,” or “We can go out for ice cream later if you brush your teeth with mom and dad.” A healthy set of chompers from the very beginning ensures your child that he or she has nothing to worry about when you arrive at the dentist.
  • Find a dentist your child will love: The first few dental appointments can be very scary to a kid, which is why it’s important to find the right family dentist with years of experience in handling children.

At Kyrene Family Dentistry, kids love us and so do their parents. Conveniently located in Chandler, Arizona, we provide a wide range of general and cosmetic dentistry services and accept a wide variety of insurance companies. If you are looking for a trusted team of family dentists, set an appointment by calling our office at 480-705-9005. We look forward to brightening your family’s smiles.