Many people mistakenly disregard the importance of baby teeth because they know that these teeth will eventually fall out and be replaced by the permanent teeth. However, baby teeth play a significant role in the development of children’s mouths, helping them eat well, speak properly, and allowing the adult teeth to grow in correctly. The baby teeth tend to emerge into the mouth between six months of age to one year. These teeth will grow and develop until they have all fallen out and been replaced by the age of about 14. The baby teeth are important because they are place holders for the permanent teeth, which are meant to last for the rest of people’s lives.
Proper care of the baby teeth should be a priority for parents. Many parents do not realize that as soon as baby teeth begin erupting inside the mouth they need to be cared for just like permanent teeth. These baby teeth need to be brushed at least twice a day to prevent dental caries, the number one chronic childhood disease in the world. Early childhood caries is a severe form of cavities found in children ages 0-4, and without proper treatment, the decay will spread deep into the gum line causing pain and damage to the underlying permanent tooth.
Diets high in sugar are the number one cause of early childhood tooth decay. It is important to limit sugary treats and drinks, as well as remembering that milk, formula, and juice all contain sugar. Allowing a child to use a bottle filled with anything other than water to fall asleep, is allowing his or her teeth to be coated in sugar for hours at a time.
All 20 baby teeth typically erupt by the age of three. All 20 of these teeth are necessary for the proper growth and development of the mouth. If a baby tooth becomes so decayed that it needs to be pulled, continuous damage to the mouth is likely. A baby tooth that is missing too early allows for the teeth to shift out of their desired position and block the way for a permanent tooth to erupt correctly.
Prevention of cavities and dental caries is the sole responsibility of parents for children of young ages. It is essential that parents view their child’s baby teeth as important so that they take the time to brush and floss these teeth, limit sugar in the diet, encourage drinking water, and visit the dentist with their children for regular dental examinations and cleanings.