by Yasser Sadek, DDS

This is another excerpt from the book A Reason to Smile – Fixing Broken Confidence with Cosmetic Dentistry.”

One of the mistakes I see parents make most often is a failure to care for their children’s’ teeth as rigorously as they do their own. Many parents think that because their children’s teeth are relatively new, there’s no possibility of anything being wrong. Or, that because the baby teeth will fall out and be replaced, that proper care isn’t necessary.

Decay is actually much more prevalent in baby teeth because they are softer than adult teeth. The acidity in a child’s mouth is also much higher because they eat more often, which is, as mentioned earlier, the cause of decay. But getting cavities or losing teeth is not the only concern. Baby teeth actually play a very important role in speech and self-confidence. Children start developing phonetics like “s” and “v” sounds around ages 4 and 5 and require the use of their front teeth. If baby front teeth are lost prematurely, the children can develop a lisp or a tongue thrust.

Losing teeth early, having discolored or damaged teeth, or having a speech impediment can have negative psychological consequences on a child. Children are brutally honest and will point out others’ faults. They may mean no harm, but it can still be devastating for the child and affect his or her self-confidence. Having dental problems and undergoing constant treatment can also cause the child to be fearful of the dentist, especially if the problems become severe and the experience is traumatic. All these issues can be avoided if proper care is given to oral hygiene, accompanied by early and frequent visits to a children’s dentist.