If you have a small child, you may be concerned about the future alignment of their teeth. In order for a child's permanent teeth to grow in a straight configuration, the baby teeth should remain in place until they shed naturally. If the baby teeth are lost too soon, they cannot serve as effective guides for the placement of the child's permanent teeth. The teeth adjacent to a lost tooth may encroach on the gap result from the tooth's early loss.

Nevertheless, there are some measures that you can take to help ensure that your child's baby teeth are not lost before they are ready. Here are a few of them.

Avoid Giving Your Baby a Bottle to Soothe Them to Sleep

When a child is sleeping, their swallowing reflex relaxes. As a result, if they are drinking from a bottle as they drift off to sleep, the liquid from the bottle pools in their mouth. The teeth remain bathed in the liquid until the child awakens and swallows or the liquid leaks from their open lips.

Often, the contents of a baby bottle include milk or juice. The natural sugars in these substances feed bacteria in the child's mouth. Consequently, the microbes digest the sugars and release acidic byproducts that dissolve the little one's tooth material. This dissolution can result in a serious form of decay called "baby bottle decay." Baby bottle decay can cause the premature loss of the baby teeth, especially if the decay has become so severe and that it breaches the outer layer of tooth material.

To help avoid the condition, you should refrain from feeding your baby through a bottle when they are feeling tired. If you feel that your little one truly needs the bottle to soothe themselves to sleep, only fill it with water.

Use a Sports Guard

Many children participate in sports at an early age. If your child still has their baby teeth and they participate in a contact sport, have them wear a special mouth guard called a sports guard. The sports guard is made of shock-absorbent material that protects your child's teeth from an unexpected blow to the mouth. With enough force, a blow can dislodge a tooth, risking its early loss. The mouth guard can protect the primary teeth to lessen the chance of a tooth being knocked out.

To learn more ways to keep your child's baby teeth in place until they shed naturally, schedule a consultation with a pediatric dentist in your local area.