Although baby teeth fall out and get replaced by permanent teeth, they are vital. Baby teeth are needed for eating, talking and smile development.
As baby teeth come in, foods requiring chewing and biting are introduced into a child’s diet. These foods provide nutrition as children grow.
Baby teeth are also important in helping children reach speech milestones. The tongue and the teeth are key to forming sounds and making words.
Permanent teeth form in the jawbone and eventually push out the baby teeth. Properly maintained baby teeth help act as a space maintainer to guide permanent teeth into the correct position.
These are common problems for baby teeth:
a) Tooth decay
Cavities are the most common chronic disease in children. When caught early cavities can almost always be treated. The problem with cavities is much worse than decay in the tooth. Left untreated, childhood cavities lead to infection, pain, chewing problems, malnutrition, speech problems . . . and the list goes on. Stopping cavities before they even start is the goal. Setting a daily routine for good oral hygiene habits, including brushing and flossing is a start. Regular visits to the dentist are the most important thing to do and are key in maintaining oral health.
Falls, accidents and unexpected trauma (like biting into something hard) can chip, crack, or even knock out baby teeth. Discourage children from biting into hard candies or other foods and explain why. Use mouthguards and helmets during sports and activities. Caution children to never walk or run with anything in their mouths.
c) Congenital issues
Congenital conditions may include structural issues (abnormal enamel or dentin formation); unusual tooth position, size or shape of baby teeth; or even missing teeth, where the baby tooth doesn’t develop properly in the jawbone prior to coming in. Consult a dentist for information and treatment options.