Although baby teeth will almost always be replaced by permanent adult teeth, maintaining the health and integrity of a child’s “milk teeth” until the process can occur naturally is important. When baby teeth are knocked out by injury or extracted due to disease, there is the potential for a variety of problems. Baby teeth are important for many reasons, including the following:
Chewing- Much like adults, children need to be able to use their teeth to chew food well in order to get optimum nutrition and digestion to support their growing bodies, as well as to reduce chances of choking on improperly chewed food.
Speaking- Teeth are important to many of the sounds of speech for effective verbal communication. It is ideal for children to be able to learn to make these sounds as properly as possible during their learning of spoken language. And although a child with alternative methods of pronunciation may be understood quite well by those close to and familiar him or her, for a child to be quickly and easily understood by any adult would be ideal should, for example, an urgent safety situation arise requiring important information from the child.
Placeholders for permanent teeth- This is a very important function of baby teeth. If a child’s baby tooth is lost too long before the permanent tooth is ready to take its place, teeth on either side of this space can shift into the empty area, causing the adult tooth to erupt out of place and resulting in malocclusion. Malocclusion of teeth causes difficulty in cleaning, increases chances of decay, and usually require years of costly orthodontic treatment to correct.
These are just a few examples of how baby teeth, although temporary, are important. Good brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and regular check ups are the foundation of health for all teeth. Avoiding too may sugary or acidic snacks and drinks is also good for maintaining tooth health and wholeness.
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we love all teeth, and we want to help keep the little ones in great shape- so please let us know if we can help you with your child’s dental health! We are happy to help lay a strong foundation for a lifetime of brilliant smiles!