Teeth play a critical role in helping us chew food, speak clearly, and smile confidently. While babies are not generally born with teeth, most children begin teething between six and eight months. By the time a child is 30 months old, all 20 primary teeth should have erupted. As a child grows, these baby teeth naturally fall out and the child’s permanent (adult) teeth take their place. It may seem like baby teeth are not important but in reality, they can have a direct impact on your child’s permanent teeth.
Functions of Primary Teeth
Baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth by saving specific spots along the upper and lower arches for adult teeth to erupt. This means that if a baby tooth is removed prematurely due to decay or an accident, it leaves a gap in which other teeth may shift to fill the space. This could ultimately result in crowding or a misalignment. Adult teeth could also become impacted, meaning they are not able to erupt fully or partially.
A child’s primary teeth also encourage healthy muscle, jaw, and facial development. A study published in Sleep and Breathing journal found that missing teeth in early childhood can interfere with facial development and contribute to a narrow upper airway that could lead to obstructive sleep apnea. Healthy teeth also help children learn to speak properly and articulate certain sounds that involve the teeth.
Keeping Baby Teeth Healthy
Dental care should begin as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and feeding your child a balanced diet are key ways to keep baby teeth healthy. Regular visits to a Brevard pediatric dentist are also important. Book an appointment with our pediatric dentist in Melbourne FL today and help your child prepare for a lifetime of good oral health.