It’s Children’s Dental Health Month, and we’re celebrating by providing you with the tools you need to keep the child in your life’s teeth healthy. The first tool we can give families is understanding why baby teeth are important.
We often hear from parents; “Why should I get that baby tooth filled, it’s just going to fall out anyway?” Here are some reasons why baby teeth are very important!
Baby teeth save space for permanent teeth
When a baby tooth is lost too soon, the teeth behind it move forward into that space and there is nowhere for the adult tooth to come in when it’s ready. This is often why we will suggest a space maintainer (or a wire that holds the space open) if a baby tooth need to be extracted due to an abscess. When the adult teeth don’t have the space to come in properly, they often shift toward the cheek or tongue side causing problems with the bite that require braces to fix.
Infections in baby teeth damage permanent teeth
When a baby tooth becomes infected and abscesses, the infection in the bone harms the developing permanent tooth underneath it. This is called a “Turner’s tooth.” The enamel doesn’t form properly on the adult tooth, so having infections in the baby teeth can harm the child’s adult tooth for life and require more expensive dental work.
Baby teeth allow kids to chew nutritious food for growth and development
Children are constantly growing and require essential vitamins and minerals to maintain that growth and health. Fruits and vegetables are crunchy and the act of chewing food painlessly is an important function of digestion.
Healthy baby teeth promote self-esteem
Bullying is at an all-time high in the school-aged population. When children lose a tooth well before their classmates do, everyone takes notice. Kids can also be picked on for having visible cavities or black teeth. Developing the confidence to smile is important at any age, but especially for kids because how they feel about their appearance now can have a lasting impact on adulthood.
A full set of baby teeth is important in speech development
Research shows that premature loss of the two front teeth has a long-term impact on language development (1).
Learn more about baby teeth here. The ADA has put together many resources to help caregivers take care of their children’s teeth.
If you have any questions on this topic we hope you’ll leave them in the comments below. If you have any thoughts or questions that you would like us to answer with a new blog post, please leave your thoughts here. We recommend that children have their first dental visit by age 1, to schedule with us click here.
1. Kalia, Garima, Sandeep Tandon, Nameksh Raj Bhupali, Ambika Rathore, Rinku Mathur, and Khushboo Rathore. “Speech Evaluation in Children with Missing Anterior Teeth and after Prosthetic Rehabilitation with Fixed Functional Space Maintainer.” Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry 36, no. 4 (December 2018): 391–95. https://doi.org/10.4103/JISPPD.JISPPD_221_18.