At Stellar Kids Dentistry in Mukilteo, Mill Creek, and Everett, Washington, our dentists know how important it is to care for your child’s teeth at an early age.
By the time your child reaches the age of 3, they should have about 20 baby teeth. These begin falling out around the ages of 5 or 6 to make room for their adult teeth. Once these temporary teeth fall out, your child’s permanent teeth start to erupt.
Since baby teeth, or milk teeth, are temporary, you don’t really need to take care of them as carefully as adult teeth…right?
This is a question pediatric dentists hear from parents all the time, so if you’ve been skeptical about the importance of your child’s baby teeth, you’re not alone. But the truth is, baby teeth matter just as much as adult teeth. They play a pivotal role in your child’s physical, social, and emotional development.
Here are just a few ways healthy baby teeth set your child up for a lifetime of good oral health:
Healthy adult teeth
While baby teeth may seem completely separate from your child’s permanent teeth, adult teeth actually grow just underneath the roots of these temporary teeth. If your child has cavities, they can fall out early, prompting the rest of their baby teeth to shift into that empty space.
This leaves very little room for your child’s permanent teeth to grow. Without enough room to erupt, their adult teeth can grow in misaligned or crooked, which increases their vulnerability to tooth decay.
Tooth alignment and position
Baby teeth guide your child’s adult teeth into the right position, so they’re aligned with the rest of their teeth. If a baby tooth is lost due to decay, damage, or injury, the surrounding teeth begin shifting into the empty space. This makes it difficult for their permanent teeth to grow in straight.
Crooked teeth can lead to a series of dental issues, including cavities and bite problems. They also increase your child’s chances of needing braces later in life.
Did you know that your teeth, tongue, cheeks, and lips all work together to form your speech patterns? Without smooth, straight teeth to deflect speech from, your child can develop speech problems, such as a lisp or slightly slurred speech.
A healthy tooth structure helps support the development of your child’s facial muscles, which shapes their face. Without healthy teeth, their facial muscles can’t develop as well as they should, leading to an abnormal face shape and poor jaw development.
With the many surprises and changes that early child development brings, it’s no surprise that having crooked teeth, now and in the future, can negatively impact your child’s self-esteem. For a lifetime of healthy and happy smiles, healthy baby teeth can have a positive influence on your child’s confidence as they grow.
To keep your child’s baby teeth healthy and strong, call the experienced dental team at Stellar Kids Dentistry or schedule an appointment online now!