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3 Reasons Baby Teeth are Important

September 2, 2020

Baby teeth, which are also called primary teeth, are the first set of teeth to erupt in infancy. Baby teeth are temporary, meaning that they fall out and get replaced with adult teeth in childhood. A complete set of baby teeth consists of 20 teeth, including incisors, canines and molars. The eruption typically begins at 6-10 months old and will be finished by 2½-3 years old. Baby teeth fall out when the adult teeth growing from underneath resorb the baby teeth’ roots and therefore become loose. The first baby teeth that typically fall out are the lower two front teeth, followed by the upper two front teeth. During the teething process, there may be some soreness in the gums. A damp gauze or teething ring can be used to gently soothe the area.

Baby Teeth Are Important For Use and Function 

Baby teeth, just like adult teeth, are essential for a multitude of reasons on a day-to-day basis. This includes biting, chewing, speaking and smiling. If a baby tooth/teeth have been lost premature (due to an injury or cavity,) it can affect the mouth’s proper function as a whole. This can lead to issues with adequate nutrition and also problems with self-confidence. 

Baby Teeth Act as Place Holders 

Baby teeth also serve as a placeholder for the future adult teeth to erupt in the correct positions. Adult teeth use the baby teeth’ roots to guide them into the right spaces, and if the baby teeth are lost prematurely, the adult teeth no longer have a guide for the eruption. In addition, if a baby tooth is lost prematurely, the surrounding teeth have a tendency to close in the space, eliminating room for the future adult teeth. This means that neighbouring teeth can drift forward, and opposing teeth can over-erupt. The result of this can be crowding of the adult teeth and potential bite and jaw problems. 

Healthy Baby Teeth Prevent Pain 

Like adult teeth, baby teeth can be susceptible to cavities with a lack of proper oral hygiene and sugary foods. Cavities on baby teeth must be fixed. If cavities on baby teeth are left, they will grow and lead to infections, causing unnecessary pain and distress. Molar baby teeth last until 12-13 years old, so it is essential to keep them healthy and cavity-free for their long life span. Cavities on baby teeth are either fixed with simple fillings or root fillings and caps. The early signs of a cavity are a small brown/black or yellow stained spot, or a chip between teeth.

If you have any questions about baby teeth, how to keep them healthy, or if you believe your child may have a cavity, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

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