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Dr. Cynthia Pelley
Call us today at (503) 235-0313

Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
Sellwood Location

8708 SE 17th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
(503) 235-0313
Click Here for Directions

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Baby Teeth Matter

Baby teethIt may be difficult to understand the importance of something that is either not there yet, or if it is, will eventually fall out anyway, but it must be understood because baby teeth matter! Your child's teeth started forming in the womb and lie hidden in the jaw until usually around six months of age when they really begin to erupt (or come through the gum). These baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, serve many vital purposes not only just in developmental practices and milestones your child faces early in life, but also in the sense that they are the foundation for their permanent teeth. They hold the space, make room for, if you will, the next set of teeth that will be with your child long after they are not a child anymore, for life.

What purpose do baby teeth serve?

Your child’s primary teeth, or baby teeth, serve many important roles. They are the foundation in which their permanent teeth will eventually lie. If a baby tooth is lost too early on a permanent tooth may try and move into the empty space inevitably causing crowding and inescapably setting the pace and standard for other crooked teeth will follow. The obvious of roles in which your child’s baby teeth serve is to help them chew their food, thus allowing for the transition from soft foods to solids. The not so obvious being that they help your child to have the ability to speak, quickly, clearly and more easily. Overall, your child’s baby teeth set the groundwork for a lifelong healthy and beautiful smile and therefore early practices of good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups (cleanings) is of the utmost importance. In fact, it is recommended by theAmerican Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as well as the American Dental Association that your child begins regular routine dental checkups no later than age one.

Can baby teeth form cavities?

Cavities are formed by a harmful bacteria that when born babies do not have present in their mouths. Studies have shown that parents are the cause of infecting their baby's mouths by such actions as holding a pacifier in their mouth and then giving it to their little one, or eating off the same fork or spoon as their little one. Studies have also shown that if the parent has cavities present themselves, then they are more likely to have and pass along this cavity causing bacteria.
Decay (which ultimately and inevitably leads to a cavity) begins when these harmful bacteria feed on sugars present in the mouth, and in return producing acids that eat away at the structure of the tooth. Once the area of decay, now lacking calcium, has become large enough and soft enough the structure collapses and a cavity is formed.

For more information on cavities, where they come from and preventative measures that can be taken to avoid them, visit our Understanding Cavities page to learn more.

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Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry - Cynthia Pelley | | (503) 235-0313
8708 SE 17th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202