Thursday, February 23, 2012

Know Your Teeth

By Dr. Doyle Williams

In celebration of Children’s Dental Health Month, I thought all my readers -- young and not so young -- would like to learn more about their teeth.

Have you ever thought about the life cycle of your teeth?

Yes, teeth do have a life cycle. From birth onward, teeth go through different stages and at each stage, they need a specific type of care.

Good oral health starts at birth -- even though teeth are typically not visible when a baby is born. Underneath those newborn gums, teeth are already forming and lining up in place. Start cleaning them (with a soft damp cloth) as soon as the first teeth come through the gums. They deserve careful care every day for the rest your life. One year of age is the time to schedule the baby’s first visit to a dental care professional.

I’d like to introduce you to website that takes you through the life of a tooth brought to you by the Academy of General Dentistry. Click the link and you’ll learn what to expect from dental visits at different ages, when you should go, and you’ll find tips on dental care routines that you should follow as your teeth mature.

I want to remind you that baby teeth are very important. They are for chewing and much more. Baby teeth serve as space-holders for adult teeth. A child’s permanent tooth will grow into the space left behind when the baby tooth falls out. If a child looses a baby tooth before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt into place, the child can have problems eating and even learning to speak properly.

Help your young children develop healthy teeth by avoiding giving them baby bottles at bedtime, use only water in sippy cups, use toothpaste with fluoride (after age 2), and limit snacking on sugary and starchy foods throughout the day.

Your mouth is a window to your good health. Take care of your teeth and they should last a lifetime!

*Photo source: