As parents, there is nothing more special than seeing our child smile. While the baby teeth that make up those smiles may only be temporary, it is important to remember that they serve a very important role in our child’s health and development and must be meticulously cared for until they fall out.
Baby Teeth Aid In Proper Nutrition.
Children use their baby teeth to bite and chew food. Effective chewing allows a child’s body to readily digest the nutrients in food. If a child is unable to chew their food properly, either due to early tooth loss or dental pain from cavities, they may experience nutritional deficiencies.
Baby Teeth Are Important In Speech and Facial Development.
In order to form words and develop speech, children must learn to move their tongue, lips and cheeks against their teeth in a synchronized manner to produce specific sounds. For words to be pronounced correctly, a child’s baby teeth must be present and in proper position. If baby teeth are lost early or severely decayed, a child may experience speech delay or an inability to speak clearly. Baby teeth also serve an important role in facial development. They provide support to both the lips and developing facial muscles, which in turn give shape to the child’s face.
Baby Teeth Guide Permanent Teeth Into Proper Position.
Baby teeth serve to save space for and guide the permanent teeth into proper position. If a baby tooth is lost early due to trauma or decay and is not replaced, the surrounding teeth may drift into that space. The permanent tooth will then have less room to come in and may grow in crooked or crowded causing more severe orthodontic issues than the child otherwise would have experienced.
Baby Teeth Can Affect A Child’s Self-Esteem and Concentration.
Neglecting the health of a child’s baby teeth can have emotional and social consequences as well. Children who experience early tooth loss or have visible signs of decay often have lower self-esteem and self-confidence. Children who experience dental pain due to tooth decay or infection may also find sleeping, eating, speaking, and concentrating in school difficult. Studies have shown that children with poor oral health earn lower grades than those with good oral health. On the other hand, having healthy baby teeth and a healthy smile can build a child’s confidence and allow them to thrive in social settings such as the classroom.
It is never too early to teach children about the importance of their oral health. Helping children develop good oral care habits with their baby teeth is important because these habits are likely to continue with them into adulthood and will shape how they care for their permanent teeth. Healthy baby teeth lead to healthy permanent teeth!