By Flint Stephens
The loss of baby teeth is a rite of passage for most children. There is excitement and anticipation when that first primary tooth falls out and they get to tuck it under a pillow for the tooth fairy.
Because losing baby teeth is inevitable, some parents mistakenly believe there is little cause for concern when baby teeth get cavities or even fall out or are removed prematurely. In reality, however, primary teeth play an important role in the proper development of permanent teeth and in a child’s overall health and wellness.
As a result, it is essential to take care of baby teeth and to schedule regular visits with a dentist experienced in providing pediatric dental care.
Here are some reasons it is important to take care of primary teeth.
They are placeholders
Baby teeth generally loosen and fall out in a specific order. This ensures there will be enough room for the permanent teeth to come in, according to oralanswers.com. If baby teeth are lost prematurely because of decay or accidents, the permanent teeth might come in crooked or they could displace other teeth.
If your child’s baby tooth falls out early, it is important to schedule a dental appointment so the dentist can create a spacer to help maintain room for the permanent tooth. Ignoring the issue can lead to costly orthodontia down the road. If you've checked the price of braces or of oral surgery recently, you'll realize it is well worth the cost to help permanent teeth come in properly.
They keep your child healthy
Oral infections resulting from cavities can spread infection and cause inflammation in other parts of the body. Medical research shows infections that begin in the teeth can spread to the sinuses, through the blood system or through the lymph system. The resulting consequences can be severe and can even result in death in rare instances. When infection spreads to the root of a baby tooth, it can also damage the underlying permanent tooth.
Decayed and infected teeth and gums can also cause significant pain for children. A child with painful teeth can be malnourished or underweight because of pain during eating.
They promote good dental habits
The American Dental Association advises parents to start brushing their children’s teeth every morning and night as soon as they start to appear. It is much easier to teach children good dental hygiene habits early than to try to train an older child who has already developed some bad habits.
They are important for mental wellness
Self-esteem is important for young children. “The most common place for cavities in children is in between the front teeth,” notes oralanswers.com. “If a little boy or girl has to walk around with brown spots on their front teeth, it can make them self-conscious and decrease their sense of self-worth.” Children can be cruel and a child with decayed or missing teeth can become an object of bullying. They can also feel guilty about the condition of their teeth and might avoid smiling or even playing with other children.
They help with speech
Baby teeth are important for proper speech development. Premature loss of front teeth can hamper a child’s ability to make specific sounds where the tongue touches or pushes against those teeth.
Children depend on their parents for proper dental care. When parents minimize the significance of primary teeth, it sends a negative message to children about the importance of oral health and dental hygiene. Make sure and sent the right message by scheduling regular check-ups with a dentist experienced in dealing with children’s dental issues.