Debunking myths about baby teeth

Published: Feb. 12, 2020 at 2:29 PM CST
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As part of Children's Dental Health Month, local dentists are reminding parents about the importance of baby teeth and debunking some of the myths about those teeth we only have for a short time.

Little 6-year old Josefine is at the dentist today, and the first order of business are some X-rays and a cleaning with a hygienist from Dental Associates in Green Bay.

Then it's time for an exam by Dr. Hassan Alshehabi, who says there is a simple truth when it comes to baby teeth.

"Baby teeth are as important as adult teeth," says Dr. Alshehabi.

The problem is, there's a common belief that isn't the case.

"A lot of parents have that misconception of, 'Oh, it's just a baby tooth, why don't you just yank it out?' Well, unfortunately, it doesn't work that way," says Dr. Alshehabi.

The reason, according to Dr. Alshehabi, is that baby teeth have a very distinct purpose.

They set the stage to have strong enamel in your adult teeth and where they end up in your mouth.

"They're crucial in maintaining space for the adult teeth to come in," says Dr. Alshehabi.

Dr. Alshehabi says a child should first see a dentist when their first teeth are coming in and twice a year after that.

To keep baby teeth healthy, he recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes with a parent's help and make sure the child limits sugary drinks and foods, especially before bedtime.

"We have bacteria all over in our mouth, and they're waiting for things like milk or juice or anything like that. They turn that into acid, and unfortunately acid obviously erodes teeth and that's when cavities begin to develop. So, definitely a no-no. I think the last thing that should be touching a child's mouth or their teeth should be a toothbrush," says Dr. Alshehabi.

Josefine and her mom leave the dentist having heard the message.

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