Your child will lose all his 20 baby teeth before his teenage years, but how you care for those 20 teeth early on will impact how those 32 permanent teeth look and last.
Baby teeth act as spacers until the permanent teeth come in. Decay or injury may trigger premature tooth loss causing other teeth to come in crooked. Baby teeth that decay can pass that bacteria to the permanent tooth even before it makes it through the surface!
Baby teeth are responsible for more than you may realize. Consider the following 5 roles that baby teeth play.
Baby Teeth Aid in Proper Digestion
Primary teeth help your child chew his/her food thoroughly so food can be processed effectively (and safely). Teeth are composed of the hardest substance in the human body – enamel. Teeth tear, cut and grind food so it can be swallowed properly.
Chewing also allows enzymes and lubricants to be released to help you digest your food. Each type of tooth serves a different function in the process of chewing. Incisors cut foods when you bite into them and the sharper and longer canines tear the food. Food is mashed with the premolars while the tongue helps to move the food up to our teeth. Without baby teeth in place, the proper chewing, digestion and, ultimately, absorption of nutrients is affected.
Baby Teeth Support Proper Speech Development
Speech sounds are produced with both mouth structures and muscles. Lips, teeth, the tongue, cheeks and vocal tract all play a role in speech production.
While some oral structures have a more important role to play than others, they all support speech. When one structure isn’t in the mix, the ultimate product – speech – can be affected. Primary teeth are pivotal players in speech development.
Baby Teeth Build a Beautiful Smile
Making efforts to help our children have healthy teeth and gums can help them feel confident in their smiles and want to share them. Children who lose teeth prematurely because of poor oral hygiene suffer unnecessarily.
Our Li’ Sunshine Smiles team can help educate you on ways to safeguard your child’s teeth so they can stay cavity-free and in place as long as they should.
Protect Gum Tissue
Baby teeth protect your gum tissue from harm that can occur when chewing food. Exposed gum tissue from teeth that have fallen out too soon makes the gums more prone to infection and problems. Even if a baby tooth is loose, don’t pull it until it is ready to come out. Losing a baby tooth before a permanent tooth is ready to come in exposes your gums longer than can be safe.
Place-Hold for Permanent Teeth
Primary teeth help the permanent teeth erupt in their normal positions. They act as spacers or place-holders until the permanent teeth are ready.
Primary teeth hold the space in the jaws required for the correct development of the permanent, adult teeth. Normally, under healthy, accident-free conditions, a baby tooth will remain in your child’s mouth until the permanent tooth underneath it is almost through the gum surface.
The roots of the baby tooth disintegrate when a permanent tooth is ready to erupt allowing the baby tooth to loosen and fall out. If a baby tooth is lost before the permanent tooth was ready to erupt it can cause spatial problems for the adult teeth.
Sometimes it is necessary for Dr. Cat to use a dental space maintainer device to fill the place of the primary tooth until the permanent tooth is ready to emerge.
Call for a Baby Teeth Consultation
Baby teeth get injured sometimes, but at Li’ Sunshine Smiles we do all we can to keep baby teeth healthy and in your child’s mouth. Dr. Cat is highly skilled and trained to provide a variety of dental services. Our office is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to ensure you receive the best possible care. Call Li’l Sunshine Smiles at 813-576-0200 to schedule your comprehensive exam!