Baby Teeth: They Matter
March 16, 2020 at 9:00 AM
by Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry

People tend to disregard their children's baby teeth. After all, they're just going to eventually fall out, so why bother with them too much?

Baby teeth are actually extremely important to your child's oral health and development.

They help your child maintain good nutrition, helping the chew and therefore, digest, their food in a proper manner. How are you going to introduce more solid foods into your little one's diet without their baby teeth there to help them chew? That is why it is important for all of the different kinds of baby teeth to come in and help your child learn to eat and chew naturally. There are 3 types of baby teeth, each performing its own important role:

  • Incisors: these are the flat. squarish teeth at the front of the mouth, and are usually the first to come in. They help you take bites out of food, breaking into smaller, more chewable pieces.
  • Canines: they are the sharp, pointy teeth used for tearing food apart.
  • Molars: the large, bumpy teeth in the very back of the mouth are the last to join the party. They are used for crushing and grinding the food.

Baby teeth act as natural braces, helping save a space for the permanent teeth to come in and guiding them on their way up. If a baby tooth falls out too soon. the permanent tooth next to it can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for the other permanent teeth to find space to come in. This can cause the adult teeth to be crooked or overcrowded. The baby teeth set the foundation for the smile your child will have for the rest of their life.

Another role of baby teeth that often goes unrealized is how they help develop your child's speech, working with the mouth and tongue to form words. The teeth aid in word formation by controlling the flow of air coming out of the mouth. Children learn how to make different sounds when their tongue moves and touches their baby teeth in certain ways.

Baby teeth can affect a kid's overall health as well. If they are not well cared for, painful tooth decay and cavities can arise. The infection can also develop on the gums and other teeth. Such pain can interfere with your child being able to comfortably sleep, eat, play, or talk. With healthy teeth, kids are able to focus more on their education, learn to form better relationships with their peers, and develop a healthy mind and body.

So, even though their baby teeth may not be permanent companions in your child's journey, caring for them will benefit them further along the way. Remember, it's never too early to start practicing healthy oral care!