Taking our teeth for granted is so easy that almost all of us do it. We often forget about them when they are causing no trouble, and leave them alone to virtually look after themselves.
The fact however is that teeth, if neglected and not cared for properly start to decay. If we ignore them we will eventually lose them.
Such an unpalatable situation can be easily avoided simply by giving your teeth a bit of care and attention each day, and by regularly visiting your dentist. With appropriate care, your teeth should look attractive and stay healthy for a lifetime.
The first steps in this regard should be taken in early childhood, because keeping a child’s milk teeth healthy is essential if the permanent teeth are to develop correctly. These permanent teeth also need care to keep them free of plaque and decay-causing bacteria. Regular visits to the dentist are important – not only to repair damage, but also to protect healthy teeth and to obtain professional advice about home care between check-ups.
Tooth care should begin as soon as a child’s teeth start to emerge. Plaque which forms on the surface must be removed by careful brushing. This will also ensure that the child gets used to the habit of brushing from an early age. Since a child depends on his milk teeth for a full six years, and also because these teeth act as guides for the growth of permanent teeth, their daily care is vital.
At birth, a baby’s first teeth are already formed within the jawbone. Between three and six months of age, these teeth (called “Milk Teeth”) start to appear; by the age of three years, a child should have a full set of 20 milk teeth.
The first permanent teeth begin to push their way through at about the time the child is settling down in primary school and by the early teens, a set of 28 permanent teeth should be in place. The four Wisdom Teeth (those at the back of the jaws) are the last to appear, usually around the age of 18 or 20.
Growth rates vary among children, so early or late appearance of teeth should not be a cause for alarm. With proper care, your permanent teeth should last lifetime. Sometimes permanent teeth grow unevenly or crowded together if there is no sufficient space for them – which can happen if the milk teeth are lost prematurely through decay.