Having a healthy, white smile really isn’t a mystery but in order to understand how your smile can be improved you need to have a basic understanding of how your teeth got to where they are today.
The construction and methodology of our teeth has been the same for thousands of years. Archaeologists recently uncovered a grave that contained an Eskimo child. Due to the dry cold arctic climate, the mummy was perfectly preserved.
Using sophisticated imaging the scientists were able to obtain a perfect image of the skull. There, just below the first set of teeth, lying dormant inside the jaw was a full set of adult teeth waiting to erupt. For our little child, that would never happen but we are able to understand the progress of dental formation.
Just as our little Eskimo child, we are all born with two complete sets of teeth. Our first set is called “primary teeth.” You probably recognize them better when referred to as our “baby teeth.”
They are called baby teeth because the first appear at around 6 months of age. You could almost call these our “practice teeth.” Their role is to reserve a spot for the permanent tooth which will begin to appear as the baby teeth are pushed up and out of the way. This onset of permanent adult teeth begins to occur when we are around 6 years old.
Even though our first set of teeth is temporary, their role in our dental life is very important. In addition to being placeholders for our permanent teeth, these baby teeth are what help us to speak and how to chew.
The first teeth to erupt are usually the four front teeth. You probably don’t remember what they looked like, but they are the most beautiful shade of white imaginable! When the permanent teeth push the baby teeth out of the way and erupt they too will be a beautiful translucent white. Teeth that dreams are made of!
Even if your child has just one, tiny little pretty white tooth, it is important that you launch him/her on their road to dental health. So, begin by brushing that little tiny tooth and all others as they begin to appear. It isn’t necessary to use toothpaste, just use plain water. It’s never too soon to begin good dental health practices.
Believe it or not, that first little tooth is just as susceptible to decay as adult teeth. One common problem connected to tooth decay in infants is called “baby bottle decay.” It occurs as a result from excessive amounts of sugar in the formula, juice or milk the child consumes. For this reason it is a good idea to switch from a bottle to a cup as early as possible for your child.
You also must not allow a child access to beverages such as this on a continuous basis. Nor should a child be allowed to roam around with his or her cup. When a child is thirsty between meal times, offer water. This will cut down on the possibility of tooth decay and train the child to drink more water, the healthier choice.
A leading cause of dental problems in children is dry mouth. Mouth breathing causes the mouth to dry out. A dry mouth provides a perfect environment for the bacteria that causes tooth decay and to grow. Children tend to breathe through their mouth more often than adults and appear to have more instances of colds, allergies, sinus infections and other nose and ear problems. A child who sucks their thumb or blanket can also dry out the mouth. Older children who smoke or use alcohol also set themselves up for dry mouth.
You will set a habitual pattern for your child to follow the rest of his life and you will be able to remove particles of food that could develop into plaque which can cause all kinds of problems.