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Our First Set of Teeth: Why Are Baby Teeth Important?

A young boy smiling with one front tooth missing.

At Beyond Smiles of Park Ridge, we understand that every grin from your child brightens your day. But did you know that those tiny baby teeth play a huge role in their future oral health? Baby teeth help set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles. As a matter of fact, without them, we’d be unable to eat, speak, or even breathe properly.

If you’re asking, “Why are baby teeth important?” continue reading to learn all about what they do to protect your oral health.

Why Do We Have Baby Teeth?

Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, milk teeth, or deciduous teeth, are nature’s way of preparing for the future. Baby teeth hold space for adult teeth, ensuring that they have a guide to emerge properly once they’re ready.

Primary teeth do not just act as placeholders, though. They’re also the first step in the human body’s lifelong journey towards creating a healthy, functional smile.

The 3 Main Functions of Baby Teeth

  1. Chewing, Speaking, and Breathing

Chewing and speaking properly begin with baby teeth. These primary pearly whites help your child articulate words clearly and eat solid foods. This means they are essential for nutritional intake and speech development.

Baby teeth also help protect airway function. Poor dental development can lead to improper breathing, which can negatively impact facial development and growth. These changes can lead to additional problems such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and TMJ disorders. Primary teeth help your child maintain a proper bite and prevent gapping, overcrowding, and tooth shifting.

  1. Guiding Permanent Teeth

Another key role of baby teeth is to ensure proper alignment and spacing for adult teeth. By maintaining a structured, even layout in the jaw, baby teeth guide permanent teeth into their correct positions and encourage development of the bones surrounding them.

With the premature loss of baby teeth, adult teeth may be more likely to erupt at odd angles. This can result in gapping, overcrowding, crooked teeth, and malocclusion. Often, the only way to correct these issues is with orthodontic treatment.

Protecting the health of baby teeth with early childhood dental care can mean a straighter, more harmonious smile in the future.

  1. Protecting Permanent Teeth and Dental Health

Did you know that cavities in baby teeth can affect permanent teeth? It’s a common misconception that cavities in primary teeth are inconsequential.

Dental infections that go untreated can spread, leading to gum disease or the need for root canal treatment. Severe decay in baby teeth can even impact the adult teeth developing beneath them. This is why it’s crucial to address cavities and maintain excellent oral hygiene from the start.

A Healthy Smile Starts Early

At Beyond Smiles of Park Ridge, we’re dedicated to nurturing your child’s smile from the moment their teeth start to come in. We want your whole family to have a future of confident, radiant smiles- and that starts with the first set of pearly whites!

We help parents teach their kids how to care for their teeth from a young age. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist in Park Ridge, IL. We’ll work together to ensure your child’s baby teeth receive the care and attention they deserve. Remember, these teeth may be temporary, but they have lasting effects on your child’s oral health.

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