Baby teeth matter

Baby teeth are extremely important for your child’s health and happiness. Keep reading to learn why and how to maintain your child’s dental hygiene.

IOHA-Healthy Me

Baby teeth matter more than you think!

Did you know 66% of Idaho 3rd graders experience cavities by age 8 or 9? It’s easy to think baby teeth aren’t important, but cavities in baby teeth can cause infections and affect the development of permanent teeth. If you have a child under 3, practicing good dental hygiene now helps set them up for a life filled with healthy smiles. Check out our guide below to learn more about baby teeth and how to protect them.

Why are baby teeth important?

Believe it or not, baby teeth contribute to your child’s health
both as a baby and as an adult. Here are some important
facts about your child’s baby teeth!

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Healthy teeth help your child learn to talk.

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Teeth help your baby chew, which affects digestion.

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Cavities in baby teeth can impact adult teeth.

How do I prevent cavities in baby teeth?

Clean Mouth Regularly

Always remember to gently clean your child’s mouth after eating. For infants, use a piece of gauze or cloth dipped in warm water, and use a finger brush with a rice-size smear of toothpaste when that first tooth comes in.

Watch Out for Bacteria

Bacteria causes tooth decay, so be sure to wash your child’s pacifier regularly. If it falls on the ground, use water — cleaning with your own mouth can transfer bacteria to baby’s mouth.

Warm Water at Night

If your child is 6 months or older, fill their evening / night-time bottle with warm water instead of milk.

When should my child visit the dentist?

First Dental Visit by First Birthday!

Baby teeth usually come in between 6-12 months. This makes visiting the dentist by baby’s first birthday so important — the dentist can review oral health habits, get baby comfortable in the dental setting, and look for other issues, like tongue tie. In some areas, like the Treasure Valley, children ages 0-6 can also be seen at the public health districts through the First Teeth Matter program.

Looking for more resources?

Healthy Habits

  • Bring your child to the dentist regularly — their first visit should be by their first birthday
  • Regularly wash or brush your child’s mouth after eating
  • Use warm water in night-time bottles after 6 months
  • Regularly wash EVERYTHING that goes into your child’s mouth
  • Toothbrushing Tips for Young Children

Warning Signs

  • A light brown spot on your child’s tooth is most likely an early cavity — if it’s allowed to fester, it will turn dark brown and become an issue
  • White spots forming on your child’s teeth are a sign their enamel is breaking down so they need to be seen by a dental professional
  • Sometimes cavities can’t be seen, only felt — keep an eye out for sensitive areas in your child’s mouth
  • Preventing Cavities in Little Ones

Thanks to our generous corporate sponsor for funding this initiative: