If you’re among those parents who believe baby teeth don’t matter, think again.
Not only do they hold the space for permanent teeth, dentist say baby teeth facilitate speech and, when straight and cavity free, promote healthy self-esteem in children.
“A lot of parents are thinking it’s a baby tooth, they will lose it,” said Dr. Rhea Haugseth “But even if they can get the pain under control, when they have a tooth ache, they are not eating or sleeping so they can’t function very well. Some times a parent will see a cavity but they ignore it because they aren’t feeling the pain. Some kids have a high pain threshold so they don’t complain. But it’s impacting their ability to function in school.”
For low-income and minority children, the chances of getting cavities are even greater because they are less likely to see a dentist than other children, said Dr. Edward Moody, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Even though the affordable Care act includes pediatric dental benefits, he fears this trend may get worse rather than better.
“Dental decay is the most common chronic disease in childhood, five times more common than asthma,” Moody said. “What is most frustrating for our organization is that most tooth decay is preventable.”
Are you among the parents who think baby teeth don’t matter? You might want to see check back to read what else dentists think about this issue in Thursday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution.