People are born with 20 baby(deciduos) teeth. They start coming out(erupting) at the age of 6 months and continue erupting until the age of 18-24 months. There are 8 incisors, 4 canines and 8 molars.
At the age of 6-7 yo, the front teeth(incisors) start being replaced by permanent incisors. The process of replacing the baby teeth with permanent teeth continues until the age of 12-13 yo.
Why Are Baby(deciduos) Teeth Important?
The dentists run frequently into the misconception of the parents that baby teeth are not important for their kids. If any of those teeth have any issues, the parents think right away about extraction. If you are a parent, do not rush into that quick decision for your kids. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t opt for teeth extraction, but the most important are the following:
1. Kids are going to traumatized when having teeth pulled at an early age. They prefer therapy of those teeth versus extraction.
2. Baby teeth induce jaw bone growth so much needed for the support of the permanent teeth. In the areas where baby teeth are lost before their natural time to come out(exfoliation), the jaw bone is less developed and too small for the permanent teeth to have enough room to be properly aligned. This situation translates into permanent teeth being crowded, needing long time in braces to be aligned and possible needing some permanent teeth to be extracted in order to correct the created deformity.
3. One of the roles of baby teeth is to prevent the permanent teeth once erupted to migrate towards the front of the mouth. If the baby teeth are extracted prematurely, the permanent teeth from the back will move forward creating more crowding.
Now, that we know the importance of baby teeth,
How Do We Keep Them Healthy?
There is a very simple protocol for baby teeth not to have cavities. When folowed, this protocol ensures almost a cavity free mouth:
1. Prenatal vitamines with fluoride for the mother
2. Baby vitamines with fluoride until the age of 1 yo for the baby
3. Avoid processed foods(especially those rich in carbohydrates).
4. Baby’s diet rich in vegetables and fruit.
5. No soda.
6. Dilute the fruit juice with water(half and half).
7. If the kid needs to drink Gatorade, have him rinse or drink water right after.
8. Brush and floss twice a day
If the baby teeth do not get cavities until exfoliation, most likely the permanent teeth are going to be cavity free. Keep them that way.