Why are Baby Teeth Important?


While baby teeth will eventually be lost, they still play an important role in your child’s dental development and general wellbeing. It is not uncommon for parents to dismiss concerns about their child’s baby teeth or the premature loss of a baby tooth, but this can have adverse effects. iSmile Dentistry is a leading provider of kid’s dentistry in St Leonards, and in this blog post we will be highlighting some of the reasons why baby teeth are so important.

Why do We Have Baby Teeth?

Baby teeth may only be temporary, but they require just as much care as permanent teeth do. When a child is born, they lack the jaw space to be able to accommodate the thirty-two permanent adult teeth that most people end up with. Not only do baby teeth serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth, they also allow children to eat and speak properly.

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Failing to care properly for baby teeth can result in unfavourable outcomes for your child’s oral health, social development, and general wellbeing. Baby teeth play several important roles, including:

  • Aiding your child’s chewing/eating – Proper chewing of food aids digestion. Children who experience dental pain when chewing (due to cavities or sore gums) may be unable to eat or chew properly. This can lead to malnutrition. Dental pain can also interfere with a child’s ability to focus at school.
  • Helping your child speak clearly – Healthy and properly spaced baby teeth will enable your child to form words and speak clearly, supporting positive social, cognitive, and emotional development.
  • Serving as a “placeholder” for permanent teeth – the baby teeth hold the space within the jaw for the permanent teeth and guide them into position. Premature loss of a baby tooth can result in adjacent teeth shifting or tipping into the space. This will subsequently cause issues such as crowding and misalignment in the permanent dentition. Braces may then be required to correct this problem in the future.
  • Create a beautiful smile – just like adults, children can feel self-conscious about their appearance. Having healthy baby teeth will help to boost self-esteem and support social development during their formative years.

How to Keep Your Child’s Baby Teeth Healthy

It is important to reinforce and teach your children the importance of good oral hygiene, as this will set them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Baby teeth usually appear by around 6 months of age, and the entire set of baby teeth should be present in the mouth before your child’s third birthday.

The change-over to the permanent set typically starts at age 6. Some baby teeth will remain until your child is in their early teens, so it’s important to take good care of them. In addition to regular dental visits, you should try to ensure that your child has a good understanding of appropriate brushing and flossing techniques.

Baby teeth are most lost prematurely due to the presence of tooth decay, abscess, infection, or facial trauma. To ensure that any issues are identified and treated in the early stages, children should visit the dentist for a check-up every 6-12 months.

Book a Kids Dentistry Appointment Today

A child who can chew easily, speak clearly and smile confidently is a happier child. Maintaining a healthy diet, together with good oral hygiene will help to ensure optimal oral health throughout childhood and beyond.

Here at iSmile Dentistry, we believe that good oral care should start early, and we would love to discuss how we can set your child up for good dental habits for life. If your child is due for a check-up, or if you require any further advice, please do not hesitate to book an appointment at iSmile Dentistry today.