Young redheaded boy brushing his teeth with a colorful toothbrush

Are Baby Teeth Important?

Five Ways Your Children’s Baby Teeth Are Just As Important As Permanent Teeth

The majority of children who see the dentist for the first time are usually well over two years old. Yet, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 40% of children in the US have decay by the time they start kindergarten. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that your child sees a dentist by age one or within six months after their first tooth. You may be thinking “that is so young!”, so let’s look at the importance of pediatric dental care.  Primary teeth or “baby teeth” often do not get the recognition of how important they are to your child’s development. After all, they just fall out as the child grows. We have listed 5 reasons why baby teeth are a vital part of their growth:

1. Promotes Healthy Permanent Teeth:

Since your child’s permanent teeth develop close to the roots of their baby teeth, any decay in the baby tooth can spread quickly. If left untreated, the baby tooth can abscess which hinders the development of the permanent tooth. This can lead to lifelong damage to the tooth.

2. Alignment Of Permanent Teeth:

Your child’s baby teeth, keep the space and alignment of the mouth and guide the permanent teeth into their proper position. If a baby tooth is lost, the teeth next to it will drift to fill the space, making less room for permanent teeth to come in. These teeth can even be blocked from going into place.

3. Good Health And Nutrition:

You need teeth to chew. If your child is suffering sensitivity or pain from cavities, they will not be able to properly chew their food, leading to poor nutrition. If there is an infection from an abscess, it can spread and can become an emergency situation. 

4. Development Of Speech and Facial Muscles:

To form sounds, the tongue, lips and cheeks deflect off of teeth. The alignment and presence of the baby teeth help your child form correct pronunciation for speech. The tooth structure also supports your child’s developing  facial muscles that shapes your child’s face. 

5. Concentration And Self Esteem:

If your child is experiencing a toothache, it will affect their performance in school. Decayed teeth, especially those in front, will affect their confidence. They are at risk for being bullied. If allowed to continue, it can lead to missed school and trips to the emergency dental clinic which will be a costly visit.

Most people are not aware of the importance of their child’s primary teeth and how they affect the child’s lifelong dental health. Not only is the first visit at an early  age a good start to alleviating the fear of going to the dentist, but most dentists will be able to educate the child’s caregiver on “do’s and don’ts to promote good dental health, proper tools and techniques for brushing and flossing and maintaining your child’s bright smile. The dental team of West LA Dentistry provides gentle, expert care to all children.

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