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Yes, baby teeth are important because, as said by American Dental Association dentist Dr. Maria Lopez-Howell, "They are nature's braces." Baby teeth serve as placeholders for your child's permanent teeth that will come in at later ages.
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Oral health concerns the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth as a whole. Often considered to be unrelated to overall health, oral health is actually a major component. As you would see a doctor regularly for general check-ups, you should see a dentist for the same reason. Receiving a dental exam and routine cleaning at least once a year are key actions you should take to ensure your mouth stays healthy.
Although oral conditions are often considered separate from other health conditions, they are actually interrelated. Poor oral health is associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It can cause unnecessary pain and suffering, lead to missed school and work, and cost a significant amount of money. Conditions such as tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss are all direct results of poor oral health. For these reasons, it is in your best interest to care for your mouth as much as you care for your body.
Keeping your mouth healthy is a lifelong commitment that begins with learning proper oral health habits. Dentists play an important role and should be seen regularly. Along with regular brushing and flossing, dentist visits can help minimize oral health problems. With proper care, costly dental procedures and long-term health issues can be prevented.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Oral Health Conditions Page
You should see a dentist regularly for check-ups, which is usually once or twice a year, but can be more depending on your situation. However, if you experience any unusual symptoms, you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
Choosing a primary dental care provider is a big decision. To aid in your decision-making, it is a good idea to have a consultation with potential providers and discuss any questions or concerns you may have. It also gives you an opportunity to get a feel for the atmosphere and the office environment. You want to choose a dental office that is comfortable, welcoming, and clean.
Your child should see a dentist after their first tooth erupts, but no later than their first birthday. This is because they can develop cavities as soon as they have teeth. It is best to be proactive, rather than reactive.
As soon as your child's first tooth comes in, you should begin brushing their teeth to remove plaque on the surface. You can use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush or a damp cloth, whichever you find works best for you.
Fluoride, being a natural-occurring mineral, is safe for human intake. Nearly all water contains a small amount of fluoride; it is also found in soil, plants, and food. Receiving a fluoride varnish or drinking fluoridated water is simply a way to increase teeth's exposure to fluoride to maximize its effectiveness against tooth decay.