Why should we worry about baby teeth? After all, a child’s going to lose them anyway. No matter what happens with them, we’ll get a fresh start when the adult teeth come in, right?

Wrong. Proper oral care is important at all ages – including early childhood. Steps taken and habits formed at a very young age can have an impact – positive or negative – long after the tooth fairy pays her last visit.

First, a little about the Deciduous – or primary – teeth. They develop in the embryo and appear during infancy, and generally last around six to 12 years, when they are replaced by the adult teeth.

These baby teeth essential in the development of the mouth. In addition to helping with chewing and speech development, they also help maintain the space for the adult tooth that is going to come in from underneath. So if you lose the baby teeth too soon and the adult teeth drift around, there’s a much greater chance you’re going to need orthodontics (braces).

It’s also important to start caring for the baby teeth as soon as possible because it establishes habits. One of the first things we can do is have kids watch us take care of our teeth. I also encourage parents to bring their kids into a dental office at a young age so they can learn how to properly clean the child’s teeth.

If a child has a cavity before the age of 6, it’s the parents’ fault – period. Children don’t decide what they’ll eat. They don’t decide whether or not to brush their teeth. They don’t decide to put the bottle in their mouth before they go to bed. The parents are responsible for these decisions and, ultimately, the health of their children’s teeth and mouth.

In this week’s episode of the “Your Filthy Mouth” podcast, we talk about the importance of starting oral care at an early age and provide some tips for getting your youngsters to brush their teeth.

We also answer questions from listeners. Melissa wrote in and said when she brushes her teeth and spits, there’s blood in the sink. Should she be concerned? In a word, yes. Hear why on this week’s episode. And if you have a question or comment, we want to hear it. Just click the “Ask Dr. Chuck” button or email us.

Until next week …

Charles “Dr. Chuck” Reinertsen, DMD, has been practicing dentistry in Central Florida since 1979 and is author of the book, “The Power of a Really Great Smile.” His passion is spreading the word about how the health of your mouth is intrinsically linked to the rest of your body. Learn more at www.filthymouthpodcast.com.