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There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding teething that can be quite dangerous and destructive for the teeth. Let’s end these misconceptions by talking about them in every opportunity that we get.

1.Milk teeth are not that important

While it’s true that baby teeth will eventually fall out and aren’t as important as our permanent teeth, they have many functions besides looking cute. Speech development is yet another reason to take care of the baby teeth — he will need them to pronounce the dental consonants.

Milk teeth are essential not just for eating and phonetics, but also for the future structure of the face.  It is their job to hold space for the permanent teeth to come in straight and beautiful. If a milk tooth is lost early because of decay, the permanent tooth won’t have enough space to grow in that place. [1]

2.Teething causes fever and diarrhea

This is a common misconception believed by parents from all over the world. While diarrhea and fever are thought to be due to your baby teething pain, studies have shown that they’re mainly caused by bacteria and viruses the baby “picks up” from dirty object that she places in her mouth. [23]

Babies usually start teething when they’re around six months old. This is also the time when the maternal antibodies start to decrease, and the baby begins to build up his own antibodies, which are still weak to defend him against all infections. [4]

By putting dirty objects in her mouth, a baby can introduce pathogens and this may lead to stomach disturbances associated with an increase in the body temperature.

3.There’s no need to brush your baby’s teeth

This is one of the most widespread misconceptions among parents of young children. The American Dental Association recommends fluoride toothpaste as soon as teeth erupt, instead of waiting for the child to grow up a little, as it was recommended before.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends starting brushing your child’s teeth when she can write (not print) her own name. Also, they recommend using fluoride in children younger than three years only when they’re at risk of developing tooth decay. If not, it’s fine to clean the teeth with a toothbrush moistened with water to avoid fluorosis — a condition characterized by hypomineralization of tooth enamel, occurring mostly in children younger than seven years of age. It would be best to start with toothpaste when the baby learns to spit up. Even though fluoride can be toxic in extremely high doses, the topical use is safe. [56]

Experts recommend using the same tooth brushing technique that you use: put a smear of toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush — the size of a grain of rice is enough — and brush in circular motion, making sure to get to every tooth.

When the baby cuts two teeth that touch each other, it’s recommended to even floss. According to research, brushing with fluoride toothpaste may still be seriously compromised and ineffective as a method of reducing caries in toddlers because they are being brushed too shortly. [7]

Brushing twice a day is a low-cost and effective strategy to reduce the risk of caries in children. [8]

The only person who can determine whether your child will need fluoride toothpaste is a pediatric dentist — which brings us to the next misconception.

4.There’s no need for early dental checkups

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends taking your child to a pediatric dentist for the first time around their first birthday, or about six months after the first tooth emerges. Around 60 percent of children in the U.S. have tooth decay by the age of five. [910]

At the first checkup, the dentist will evaluate your baby’s caries risk and recommend ways to keep his mouth healthy. Also, they will determine how often the baby will need dental checkups in the future.

5. A toddler can brush her own teeth

While it’s smart to encourage your child to brush her own teeth, you shouldn't let the child do it without supervision. Toddlers are way too young to do it the right way. For this job, a child will need finely developed motor skills, which are not fully developed until grade school. 

Dentists and pediatricians recommend parents to assist the children in brushing at least until they’re six.

Most people don’t brush correctly. A study conducted on children and young adults’ teeth brushing techniques has shown that young adults 18-22 years of age brushed only 67 percent of their teeth surfaces, and five-year-olds managed to clean only 25 percent of the surfaces of their teeth.  [11]

Let’s end the delusions

Misconceptions are a combination of limited knowledge and inaccurate information from the past. Misconceptions regarding teething pain, hygiene, and teeth development, in general, may lead to serious consequences which could be detrimental to our children’s health and appearance, and we have to address them in every possible way.