If you’ve wondered how important baby teeth are (they just fall out anyway, right?), you aren’t alone. Many people are unaware of the importance of maintaining healthy baby teeth until it’s time for the adult teeth to erupt. Baby teeth are vital for a child’s wellbeing for several reasons, and therefore it’s essential to maintain a healthy smile.
The first baby tooth erupts between 5-10 months, and a complete set of baby teeth should be present around 2½ to 3 years old. Baby teeth begin to exfoliate (become loose and then lost) at 6 years old until around 12 years old. Listed below are the key reasons baby teeth are so important.
Biting, Chewing, Smiling
Baby teeth help your child with biting and chewing and therefore allow your child to maintain proper nutrition. If baby teeth are lost prematurely, eating is more complicated, and certain foods may be impossible, leading to inadequate nutrition. Healthy baby teeth also help to improve a child’s confidence in social settings.
Place Makers for Adult Teeth
Adult teeth use the baby teeth as a guide to erupt into the correct position. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, the adult tooth no longer has an indicator of where to come through the gums. This can lead to malposition of the teeth in the form of crowding, rotations and tipping. Down the road, there can be issues with the way the teeth bite together, and orthodontia may be required.
Speaking and Facial Development
A complete set of baby teeth is essential for proper facial development and learning to speak and pronounce words. The tongue, lips and cheeks press against the teeth to form sounds. If baby teeth have been lost premature, it is difficult, if not impossible, for a child to pronounce some words/sounds correctly.
Avoidance of Pain
Lastly, the most critical factor in maintaining healthy baby teeth is to prevent your child from experiencing dental pain. Cavities, trauma and unhealthy teeth can all cause your child to be in unnecessary distress.
Baby teeth should be cleaned just the same as adult teeth to maintain health. It is also crucial for your child to have regular dental cleanings and check-ups. If you have any questions about keeping healthy baby teeth, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.