Baby teeth, or primary teeth, are the first set of teeth to emerge. While we celebrate their appearance in babies and young toddlers, these teeth don’t stay in the mouth forever. Primary teeth fall out as children grow (typically in the order that they erupted). Adult teeth are soon to replace these primary teeth as the set of pearly whites you’ll have for a lifetime. If baby teeth aren’t permanent, do they really matter? This is a question our pediatric dentist hears all the time, and it is answered with an emphatic YES!
Primary teeth are very important to your child in several ways, including ways that impact their physical, emotional and social well-being. Here are some top reasons why baby teeth need proper care and attention:
Smile Alignment: Primary teeth save the space for the permanent to grow in. If baby teeth are lost too soon due to decay or infection, the space may not be properly saved for the adult tooth to grow into position. In fact, migrating adjacent teeth can block the permanent tooth and cause significant misalignment.
Healthy Adult Teeth: Just behind the roots of the baby teeth are the permanent teeth. Due to this close proximity and thin enamel of the baby teeth, it is not difficult for decay to form and spread from a baby tooth to a permanent tooth that has not yet erupted. Untreated decay and infection in baby teeth can lead to damage to your child’s permanent set of teeth.
Good Nutrition: We all need a proper diet, and we all need teeth for chewing the foods in our diet. If a child has a cavity that is painful or a tooth that falls out too soon, the child may avoid nutrient-dense foods that are imperative for optimal growth, development and health.
Speech Development and Facial Shape: Your child is undergoing critical years of growth and speech development. Each tooth plays a role in helping your child pronounce certain sounds and words. In addition to speech, the structure of the jaw and teeth help give shape to your child’s lower face.
School Success and Social Confidence: Untreated cavities are one of the leading reasons why children miss school. Poor dental health (such as a painful cavity) can inhibit your child’s learning, and it can also affect his or her self-esteem around peers. Routine dental check-ups can eliminate the risk of a lingering dental problem that causes your child to avoid school and social settings.
Your child’s smile is worth caring for! At Dental Care Acworth, we are proud to offer a full menu of services in pediatric dentistry. We welcome the opportunity to teach parents how to prevent dental problems on baby teeth that can affect their child’s development and future smile.