What does it matter if baby teeth decay and fall out early? They’re just baby teeth right? They are going to fall out anyway! Isn’t it just another way for dentists to make money?
So why do we need them? What makes them so important?
As a children’s dentist, I’ve heard the above questions and statements made on countless occasions. But listen up parents: baby teeth are just as important to a child as permanent teeth are to an older child and adult.
Sure, they are just baby teeth that will in fact fall out, but they also play a much larger role in a child’s oral health.
Why it’s important to look after baby teeth
Baby teeth are important for:
– Chewing and eating
– Providing space for the permanent adult teeth and guiding them into the correct position
– Stimulating normal development of facial bones and muscles
– The development of normal speech
Baby teeth are just as susceptible to cavities and deterioration as adult teeth. If they are not properly taken care of they can get holes in them, get infected and fall out before they are ready to. Not only will this cause your child discomfort and pain, but it can also open the door for a lot of other problems.
How baby teeth affect smiles later in life
Baby teeth play an important role in helping children develop healthy smiles that grow with them.
They help a child to speak clearly and learn the correct pronunciation of words. They need them to chew and eat properly – if they are unable to break down food properly in their mouths, this can lead to digestive problems.
Baby teeth also hold a spot for adult teeth to come into the mouth. They create a pathway for the adult teeth to erupt, so if a baby tooth is lost too early, often the other baby teeth take their spot and there becomes issues where there is then no room for the adult tooth/teeth to come through. This, in turn, creates crowding, a misshapen jaw and further extensive and expensive orthodontic treatment to correct these problems in the future.
Another factor is that sometimes children can be missing an adult tooth, so the baby tooth has no tooth underneath it to replace it. In these cases, the baby tooth then has to try to last a lifetime. The best way to see if your child has all their adult teeth is by coming in for a dental check up and x-rays; treating your child’s baby teeth is as important as an adult tooth, which has no replacement if something goes wrong.
Lastly and arguably most importantly, the role that baby teeth can play is for parents to use them as a tool to teach children how to properly care for their teeth so that the child is ready and able to care for the permanent teeth when they come through. This will, in turn, save them a lot of money and stress in their adult lives as well as impress upon them the importance of healthy lifestyle choices.
Book an appointment & start healthy habits early on
So please treat these baby teeth like they are adult teeth; brush them and instil good oral hygiene habits. Take your child to the dentist regularly so that they become comfortable with the dentists instead of afraid of them. Teach them to take care of their teeth, their bodies and themselves, because healthy habits build healthy lives and healthy smiles!
Please call us now to book a dental check up for your little one with one of our incredible oral health therapists who specialise in looking after your child’s smile! Phone us on 98047710 or book online.