What Kids Want to Know About Teeth

At Metro East Dental Care, we welcome kids just like you and your questions about teeth! We want you to feel comfortable visiting the dentist, and we look forward to partnering with your parents to teach you great dental hygiene habits that will give you a healthy, brilliant smile for life. There are so many things to learn at your age, so it’s completely normal for you to have a lot of questions about everything, including your teeth. And sometimes, no matter how awesome your parents are, they may not know as much as your dentist. So, here are a few answers to some of the most common questions kids have about teeth.

1. Why don’t babies have teeth when they’re born?

This is a great question! Some babies are born with teeth, but that’s not something that happens often. Most babies have the beginnings of teeth already inside their gums when they’re born. As they get older and stronger, their teeth will start to grow and harden. When the teeth are finally ready, they will pop through the baby’s gums one or two at a time. This is called teething. Usually the teeth start to erupt through the gums when a baby is about one year old, but those teeth aren’t permanent. They will last until a child is six or seven years old, and then those teeth will fall out and new permanent teeth will come in.

2. Why do I have to brush my teeth?

Brushing your teeth can be kind of a chore, it’s true. But the only way to keep your teeth and gums healthy is to brush twice a day and floss as well. Brushing your teeth will give you a strong, great-looking smile and fresh breath. No one likes smelly breath. Ew! If you brush your teeth every day, you won’t have bad breath because brushing gets rid of the bacteria and plaque that cause bad breath, cavities, and sensitive gums.

When you brush your teeth every day, you are killing bacteria and germs that will attack your teeth and gums and cause cavities. So, don’t think of it as a chore; think of it as you battling evil bacteria that want to harm your teeth and gums. And when you brush your teeth, you win! But this is a battle you will have to keep fighting every day to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

3. What are teeth made of?

A lot of people assume that teeth are bone. They look like bones, right? But they actually are not. Your bones are hard because they have a hard calcium shell. Bones can grow and change, and if you break one, it can heal itself. Teeth can’t do that. When a tooth breaks, you’ll need to see a dentist to have the dentist fix it.

Teeth do have a hard shell like bones, but the one for teeth is called enamel. It’s like a helmet for the inner part of the tooth, which has three layers. The deepest layer is called pulp. The pulp of the tooth contains the roots. Around the pulp is a layer of tissue called the cementum. That helps hold the tooth in place in your gums. On top of that is a layer of tissue called dentin. And the enamel covers the root, the cementum, and the dentin to protect them.

4. What is a pediatric dentist?

It’s normal to be a little confused about the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist, but there’s not a big difference between the two. A pediatric dentist is a dentist who specializes in taking care of kids’ teeth. A general dentist can take care of kids’ and adults’ teeth. Dr. May is a dentist who can take care of kids and adults, so you and your parents can all get your dental care from Dr. May.

Be sure to remind your parents to schedule an appointment for a cleaning or exam so you can get even more answers to your dental questions.