Just because your son or daughter’s primary teeth, often known as “baby teeth,” eventually fall out, that doesn’t mean they’re not important. Primary teeth play an essential role in your child’s overall health, development, and well-being.
Baby teeth are in our mouths for awhile! On average, the first tooth emerges around 6 months and the last may not fall out until age 12 or older. That’s a long time! If a child gets a cavity in a tooth, and it’s not time for it to fall out, this can cause pain/infection if it’s not fixed!
Much like your own permanent teeth, your youngster’s primary teeth require professional and at-home dental care. Decay can happen at any age, so it’s time to visit the dentist within six months of your child’s first tooth appearing, and certainly by age one.
In addition to checking for tooth decay and other pediatric dental problems, Dr. Andrea will show you the best ways to start your little one on a lifetime of good oral health habits.
What is the purpose of primary teeth?
Most children have a full set of primary teeth by the time they’re three years old. Primary teeth are crucial for many reasons. They:
- Promote good nutrition through proper chewing
- Assist in speech development
- Build self-esteem by providing a beautiful smile
- Enable the child to pay attention and learn in school without the distraction of dental pain
- Provide a path for permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to erupt
What happens if baby teeth aren’t taken care of?
Primary teeth can get cavities just like adult teeth. In addition to the pain caused by a cavity, young children can develop dental infections. Primary tooth decay is a serious, infectious, and transmissible disease that can spread quickly and lead to infection or abscess without proper precautions. This can be especially harmful to children because their immune systems aren’t fully developed.
If a tooth becomes infected and needs to be extracted, we might recommend inserting a space maintainer. If the space is not preserved, other teeth may drift, causing difficult-to-treat crowding and orthodontic problems when permanent teeth come in.
The most important aspect of taking care of your child’s primary teeth is the example you help to set. Early on, your little one should develop the habit of brushing and flossing that will carry into adulthood. Healthy teeth also lead to easier dental visits, which teaches your youngster that there is nothing to be afraid of at the dentist.