Ask a Pediatric Dentist: Why Are My Child’s Baby Teeth Important?

The next time you talk to your child’s pediatric dentist, you should ask why your baby’s teeth are so important. After all, these teeth erupt and then fall out within a short span. While that might be true, baby teeth play a vital role in the same way that adult teeth do. As a parent, the more knowledge you gain, the better you can care for your little ones.

Baby teeth

There is no question the first small teeth that erupt are the cutest. Then as a baby gets additional teeth, their smile becomes all the more precious. Yes, baby teeth add to their overall appearance. However, they accomplish a lot more.

Proper development

Baby teeth are just as relevant to a child’s development as permanent adult teeth. In fact, baby teeth have a significant impact on a child’s emotional, physical and social development. An infant should be seen by a pediatric dentist no later than nine months of age. During that visit, the dentist can ensure that everything is growing according to how it should be.

Space for adult teeth

Baby teeth serve an important role. For adult teeth to have ample space to grow, these smaller teeth provide that. Otherwise, permanent teeth could begin to grow in at an angle, which would likely cause another issue. The goal of a pediatric dentist is to ensure that baby teeth remain healthy until it is time for them to fall out. That way, there is no risk of the surrounding teeth shifting. There are even cases when a missing baby tooth could make it difficult for an adult tooth to emerge.

Healthy permanent teeth

When an infant sees a pediatric dentist, there are several goals. One of these involves looking for any decay. Even a small cavity needs a filling. What happens is that if a baby tooth has a cavity left untreated, there is a risk of the child developing an abscess. Just as with adults, this could lead to an infection. Many young children do not have a strong enough immune system to fight off infection. Therefore, a pediatric dentist needs to correct any cavity right away.

Nutritional issues

An untreated cavity, or worse, one that causes an abscess or infection, can make it difficult for a child to eat. Even consuming soft foods after weaning from a bottle or after the baby no longer breastfeeds can prove painful. For proper nutritional development, babies need healthy foods and the right number of calories. If an infant cannot eat, there is a risk of them developing a nutritional deficiency. Also, an infection of the tooth can spread throughout the child’s bloodstream, creating a worse problem.

Delayed speech

Baby teeth help a child learn to form words properly. Working in conjunction with the tongue and cheeks, they begin to mimic what parents say. However, if for some reason a small child has crooked teeth, this would become an issue. Therefore, pediatric dentists recommend for parents to have a child seen if any concerns of a cavity or misalignment come up.

Talk to your pediatric dentist

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