Baby teeth are designed to last 6-12 years. Also referred to as primary teeth, baby teeth contribute to the overall development and health of every child. Their function is dependent on a disease-free status.
Proper speech development relies on the presence of childrens teeth. The tongue creates certain sounds with the presence of baby (primary) teeth.
Digestion begins in the mouth. A healthy diet is dependent on front and back teeth for tearing as well as crunching. As food is properly masticated in the mouth, the stomach can continue digestion for optimal nutrition.
A healthy mouth leads to healthy self esteem every time a child smiles. When teeth are fractured or badly decayed children resist smiling, talking and participating in class because of peer ridicule.
Badly decayed teeth are not only an esthetic issue but more importantly becomes a health issue. A deep cavity makes eating a painful process resulting in malnutrition. Pain also interferes with learning and concentration. Attendance suffers costing schools money for lack of attendance. Often a parent will have to take time off of work to stay home with a suffering child. Then more time-off is necessary for dental treatment.
As a tooth becomes decayed, the disease process can lead to infection and even death. Dental decay is a progressive disease and commands treatment. Advanced decay often results in infection. Prolong infections find pathways to the brain causing death.
An unhealthy mouth is a smelly mouth. Good and bad bacteria thrive in the oral cavity. Germs multiply, produce wastes, die, then rot and create a foul stench. Beside odor, wastes produce acids contributing to demineralization of enamel. Babies and very young children will develop cavities (decay), in their front upper teeth first.
Baby teeth reserve space until the permanent teeth erupt in the mouth. This is a very important role. Premature missing primary teeth will affect the eruption sequence of adult (permanent) teeth. Eruption and alignment of permanent teeth will suffer leading to increased chance of crowding and crooked teeth.
The bottom line is take good care of your child’s baby teeth. Most dental diseases are preventable and not painful in early stages but are expensive to restore. Children should see a dentist by age one, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Start cleaning your baby’s mouth even before they have teeth. Gently wipe their mouth with a soft wash rag or gauze. Get them accustomed to you looking in their mouth and cleaning it. This practice will condition them to be less fearful when visiting dental professionals.