They Aid in Chewing, Biting, Talking and Smiling
Baby teeth, most importantly, are used for everyday function. A full set of baby teeth are an essential component in biting and chewing, in forming the correct sounds for speech, and for confidence in smiling. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, it can make any number of these essential functions more difficult. If biting and chewing are difficult, there is a risk of inadequate nutrition. If talking and smiling are difficult, it can result in problems with socialization and self-confidence.
Hold the Place for the Adult Teeth
The adult teeth use the baby teeth as precursors when they begin to erupt. The adult teeth find their place by resorbing the root of the baby tooth above them and erupting in the same position. If the baby tooth is lost prematurely, to a cavity/infection or trauma, there will be no precursor for the adult tooth to follow for the eruption. And the likelihood of erupting out of position will be higher, leading to difficulty with cleaning and possibly the need for future braces.
Affect the Health of the Adult Teeth
If there is trauma or infection with a baby tooth, it can lead to problems with the future adult tooth. Injury can cause the root of the baby tooth to hit the vulnerable, forming adult tooth and affect the development, sometimes leading to a discoloured area when it eventually erupts. A large cavity that turns into an infection can have similar results, as the infection can travel up the root of the baby tooth and affect the space the adult tooth is forming in.
Proper Speech and Facial Development
Baby teeth are needed for proper speech and facial development. If baby teeth are lost premature, there could be delays or issues with the development of the face and jaw and the ability to create proper sounds for speech.