The Importance of Baby Teeth

Just because your child’s primary teeth, often known as “baby teeth,”eventually fall out, doesn’t mean they’re not important. Primary teethplay an important role in your child’s overall health, development, andwell-being.

Much like your own permanent teeth, your child’s primary teeth requireprofessional and at-home dental care. Decay can happen at any age,so it’s time to visit the dentist within six months of your child’s firsttooth appearing, and certainly by age one. In addition to checking fortooth decay and other pediatric dental problems, your dentist will showyou the best ways to start your child on a lifetime of good oral healthhabits.

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What is the purpose of primary teeth?

Most children have a full set of primary teeth by the time they’re threeyears old. Primary teeth are important for many reasons. They:

  • Promote good nutrition through proper chewing
  • Assist in speech development
  • Build self-esteem by providing a beautiful smile
  • Enable the child to pay attention and learn in school without the distraction of dental pain
  • Provide a path for permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to erupt

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What happens if baby teeth aren’t taken care of?

Primary teeth can get cavities just like adult teeth. In addition to thepain caused by a cavity, young children can develop dental infections.Primary tooth decay is a serious, infectious, and transmissible disease that can spread quickly and lead to infection or abscess without properprecautions. This can be especially harmful to children because theirimmune systems aren’t fully developed.

If a tooth becomes infected and needs to be extracted, you dentist willrecommend inserting a space maintainer. If the space is notpreserved, other teeth may drift, causing difficult-to-treat crowding andorthodontic problems when permanent teeth come in.

The most important aspect of taking care of your child’s primary teethis the example you help to set. Early on, your child should develop thehabit of brushing and flossing that will carry into adulthood. Healthyteeth also lead to easier dental visits, teaching your child that there isnothing to be afraid of at the dentist.

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