Why Are Baby Teeth So Important?

Why Are Baby Teeth So Important?

by Olivia Pryor (SU)

After your child’s baby teeth begin to come in — between 2-3 years old — it’s time to schedule a visit with us at Marion Smile Center. Most children have some of their baby teeth until they are 12 to 13 years old. Early preventative visits with a dentist are crucial to ensuring your child’s teeth are healthy and remain so by developing good oral hygiene practices that last a lifetime.

Dr. Marion and our hygienists will ensure your child’s teeth and gums are healthy as well as examine your child’s jaw and bite. We can illustrate how to best care for your child’s teeth, and answer any questions you may have, including recommending particular oral hygiene products and discussing your child’s fluoride needs. 

Teeth They’ll Have Through Childhood

Baby teeth are an important component of your child’s normal growth and development. Baby teeth serve the following important roles: 

Eating, Smiling, Speaking

Baby teeth help your child chew, talk, and smile while their bodies (including their jaws) are still growing. When their jaws are big enough for permanent teeth, the baby teeth are no longer needed and fall out naturally, making room for the permanent set.

Concentration & Self-Esteem

Dental pain can greatly interfere with your child’s ability to learn and stay focused in school. Dental issues can also affect their self-esteem and social interactions; everyone wants to feel good about their smile and appearance.

Just like adult teeth, baby teeth can get cavities and if not treated, could lead to dental infections and possibly need to be extracted. Tooth pain can also lead to children having to miss school, which leads to parents missing work if they have to take their child to an emergency dental appointment.

Placeholders for Permanent Teeth

One of the most important things baby teeth do is to hold space in your child’s jawbone for the permanent teeth growing under the gums. Baby teeth guide adult teeth into position while helping to prevent crowding or impacted teeth.

If your child were to lose a baby tooth prematurely, for example, such as if it were knocked out in an accident, a space maintainer could be placed that is designed to save the space and help guide the permanent tooth when it’s ready to emerge. This ensures existing teeth remain in alignment, without drifting into the empty space, causing crowding. In this way, baby teeth can help prevent costly orthodontics down the road.

Healthy Transition to Adult Teeth

Most children begin to lose their baby teeth at about 6 or 7 years old – and the last baby tooth is not gone until age 12 or 13. Taking good care of baby teeth can help prevent cavities and ease the transition to your child’s permanent teeth.

Baby Teeth Need Care, Too

The whole time a child has their baby teeth, their permanent adult teeth are nearby, growing just under the gums. Making sure your child’s baby teeth remain healthy and aligned bodes well for the same when your child’s adult teeth emerge. 

Just as it’s important that your child visit their pediatrician to ensure early developmental milestones are reached, it’s important to schedule well-child and preventive care visits with your pediatric dentist, too.

Make sure your child’s teeth are developing properly. Call Marion Smile Center in Zelienople, Pennsylvania, at (724) 452-4300 to schedule your visit or request your appointment now.