The primary teeth, commonly referred to as “baby teeth,” are the first set of teeth to erupt from a child’s gums in the first few years of life. There is a total of 20 primary teeth. Since the primary teeth are only temporary and eventually fall out, many parents falsely assume that baby teeth are not as important as permanent teeth. Even worse, they may believe that decayed or damaged baby teeth don’t need to be treated. This could be a serious and costly mistake.

The truth is; baby teeth absolutely matter. In fact, they serve critical roles in your child’s speech development, chewing function and long-term oral health.

Primary Teeth Matter

It is important that you do everything you can to properly care for your child’s primary teeth, beginning from that very first tooth that emerges. These teeth are just as susceptible to decay, infection and other concerns that adult teeth encounter. This includes visiting a dentist on a routine basis in order to diagnose and repair cavities at their earliest stage.

When decay goes untreated in baby teeth, it can lead to a host of problems. Baby teeth may even fall out prematurely due to severe decay. This can cause complications within the speech development and chewing function of your baby, toddler or young child. It may also disrupt their education experience. In fact, reports show that untreated cavities are a leading reason for missed school days!

Another major role that baby teeth serve is holding the place for permanent teeth. If baby teeth fall out or come out too early (due to poor oral health), then the adult teeth may erupt in poor or improper fashion. This can mean serious misalignment issues that set you up for orthodontics, jaw problems and other costly issues.

Staying on Top of Your Child’s Dental Care

When it comes to caring for baby teeth, the responsibility largely falls on the parent, as babies and toddlers are not yet equipped to do the job. Therefore, beyond daily brushing and flossing and scheduled dental visits, it is also important to feed your child a dental-friendly diet. From not putting your baby to bed with a bottle to avoiding gummy snacks and sodas, you can make a significant difference in how healthy and strong your child’s smile stays until permanent teeth grow in.

To schedule a dental checkup for your child, please call West Hill Family Dental. We are a comprehensive dental practice that values the importance of treating the entire family in one place.