It’s easy to treat your child’s baby teeth like Rodney Dangerfield, without any respect. After all, they’re just going to fall out one day, regardless of what you do with them, right?

That is true, but primary teeth (baby teeth) actually have a very important role to play in the oral health of your child. The primary teeth serve three purposes:

  • They maintain good nutrition by permitting your child to chew properly
  • They are crucial for the development of proper speech
  • They help the permanent teeth by, in effect, reserving space for them

That’s why you need to keep the baby teeth healthy and happy. Choose a soft toothbrush with a small head and a big handle. Adult toothbrushes won’t do. You’re going to need to do the brushing when the baby teeth have just come in. This will not only ensure that the job is given its proper attention, but will give your child a behavior to mirror.

You don’t need a lot of fluoride toothpaste, just about the size of a pea. Brushing is easy early on, just be sure to be thorough. Don’t apply too much pressure. You need to keep doing the brushing until your child is old enough to effectively brush on his or her own. Notice that word — effectively. Many children just go through the motions, so you have an educational job to do to help your child be an effective brusher.

After all, a cavity here or there is not a big deal. But if a baby tooth is really decayed it may need to be pulled, and that can create issues with the permanent tooth trying to line up to follow it in.