“DO I NEED TO FIX my child’s baby tooth since it’s going to fall out anyway?” This is a question we get asked a lot as dental professionals. The answer is a resounding YES! Primary, or “baby,” teeth serve an important purpose in your child’s present and future oral health.
Baby Teeth Have Three Main Functions
Besides providing an aesthetic appeal to your child’s smile and boosting their self-esteem, primary teeth have three main functions:
- They aid in proper chewing, fostering good nutrition
- They promote proper speech development
- They reserve a space for permanent teeth to grow in
If a primary tooth falls out or must be removed before its time due to decay, the surrounding teeth may shift into the gap, causing dental crowding and future orthodontic problems. In some cases, untreated infections in baby teeth can even affect the developing permanent teeth.
Taking care of those primary teeth not only prevents decay, but also helps your child get into the habit of good oral hygiene and sets the stage for their future oral health. Baby teeth may fall out but they’re still very important!
Regular Dental Visits Make For A Lifetime of Healthy Smiles
Your child’s first dental visit is an important milestone! Children should visit the dentist when their first tooth appears or around their first birthday.
A February 2005 Children’s Dental Health Project report found that children who visited the dentist by age one were less likely to visit the emergency room for oral health problems. They also found that children age five who had their first dental visit by the age of one incurred less oral health-related costs than their peers who didn’t see a dentist until age five.
On your child’s first visit, we will check their mouth for decay and other problems as well as show parents proper cleaning techniques. Another benefit of early, regular dental visits is that we can determine if a child is at a higher risk for cavities and implement appropriate intervention.
Baby Teeth Matter
Even though they’re temporary, your child’s baby teeth are essential to their growth and development. Teach children to take care of their baby teeth and set them on a lifelong path of good oral hygiene. If you have any questions, call us or comment below!