According to the Center of Disease Control, tooth decay is one of the most common
infectious diseases among U.S.children . That said, these statistics usually can
and will apply to children in Canada and other  Western countries of the world!

This is a sad statement in my view because this health problem is totally
preventable. Twenty eight percent of children aged 2 to 5 years have already
had decay in their primary or baby teeth. By the time they reach the age of 11,
approximately half of these children will have experienced decay issues. By the age
of nineteen, tooth decay in permanent teeth will effect 68% of all adolescents.

These are alarming statistics and to think that simply by applying some preventive
measures, they could be drastically reduced or eliminated altogether.

It appears that low income families have twice as much untreated decay than children
from families with higher incomes. As I eluded to earlier , Tooth Decay is
preventable! “One once of prevention, is worth a pound of cure”. One of the main
obligations of a parent is to go to any lengths to protect their children from all
harm. And yet, so many parents neglect their children’s
oral health for one reason or another.

Although there appears to be an increased interest in Dentistry for children today, this
field is still a subject of wide-spread pubic ignorance and misinformation. Many people
still think that the “Baby” teeth are not important because they will eventually be lost
and a new permanent set of teeth will subsequently follow.

This is a false and dangerous notion because it had led to major defects in health ,
appearance and personalities. A great number of people might have had their lives
drastically altered for the BETTER, if they  had received  adequate dental care in
their childhood.

An older, and common false notion existed that  “Baby teeth ” were easier to treat
that adult teeth . This was because a Dentist may not have to do his or her best work,
because these teeth will be lost eventually. What a ridiculous thought !

On the contrary. These Primary or Deciduous teeth, (baby teeth or milk teeth) as they
are quite often referred too, are very different from permanent or secondary teeth,
being lighter in color, (whiter) and smaller in size than their successors.

They actually require more attention and the very best work that a dentist can provide.
The fact that they will subsequently be lost is completely irrelevant to the quality of
care they should receive.

The development of the teeth begins long before the their eruption into the oral cavity.
Their formation can begin as early as the seventh week of pregnancy. That said, the
first teeth to erupt will not do so until approximately the six month after birth. This
of course can vary because some infants have been known to be born with teeth already
exposed.If the sequence of eruption pattern for baby teeth does not adhere to the average
pattern exactly, do not be alarmed! Remember,some children do develop faster than others.

The mechanism by which the deciduous teeth are replaced by the permanent teeth is
absolutely remarkable and is one of the most striking examples of nature’s ingenuity.
By age two on average,all of the twenty Baby teeth should be present and visible in the
mouth of a child. As a permanent tooth continues to develop after birth, it begins to move
through the jaw towards the gum tissue and the baby tooth it is going to eventually replace.

When the erupting permanent tooth rubs up against the root of the baby tooth,
it causes a progressive resorption or erosion  of that root to take place. Ultimately,
resulting in that resorbed root to get shorter and shorter until it becomes lose and the
remaining tooth falls out and is replaced by the permanent tooth. By this unique eruption
pattern, the baby tooth is permitted to remain and fulfill its necessary functions up to the
last moment such as; chewing and guiding the development of the jaws and maintaining the
space required to accommodate the much larger permanent tooth.

The premature loss of baby teeth , can cause several problems.  Drifting can occur of
adjacent teeth , resulting in loss of space to accommodate the eruption of the much larger
permanent teeth. One of the most common causes of the need for expensive orthodontic
treatments, is due to premature space loss that can occur at an early age.  Poorly
positioned teeth often cause irregularities in the jaw’s formations resulting in distortion
of a profile, facial asymmetry and general outward appearance.

The resulting effect upon an individual’s facial asymmetry can be very profound and can
place enormous influences upon the individuals success, happiness and overall personal
development. Do not underestimate the importance of Baby teeth. With preventive
measures that may take time and some perseverance, you can save your child a lot of
anguish, pain , un-pleasantry and yourself a lot of stress and pocket money.

Visiting a dental office can be quite enjoyable and pleasant experience for a child
if they only have to get their teeth checked regularly and maybe x-rays every one to
two years depending on the incidence of decay present. You can save money as well if
you follow a few tips  on prevention that I will mention in my next blog.

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