Why Are Baby Teeth Important?
Primary teeth, also known as baby teeth or deciduous teeth should be well taken care of at the start as they play an important role in a child’s health and dental development. Similar to adult teeth, they are also vulnerable to tooth decay and early loss.
Baby teeth start to develop in the mother’s womb as early as 6 weeks of pregnancy. There will be a total of 20 milk teeth. The first baby tooth usually appears in the baby’s mouth around 6 months and all 20 baby teeth should be in the baby’s mouth by 30-36 months.
1) Chewing, Digestion & Nutrition
Parents often think baby teeth are not important. On the contrary, baby teeth help your baby transition from weaning off milk to solid foods. Baby teeth allows your baby to chew a variety of food with different textures and exercise the jaw muscles. This is important for the development of the facial muscles and jaw bones. The baby teeth help the child to receive enough nutrition that is essential for their growth and development, apart from promoting a healthy weight for their age.
2) Speech Development
Baby teeth helps in the development of a baby’s speech. They help the baby make certain speech sounds by controlling the air flow out of the mouth and help in the positioning of the tongue during speech. With this the baby is able to learn to speak and pronounce the words clearly.
3) Maintaining space for adult teeth
Baby teeth maintain the space in the jaw for adult teeth and act as a guide path for adult teeth to come out at the appropriate time. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, there may not be room for the adult tooth when it comes, causing it to grow out of alignment and becoming crooked.
4) Social development and confidence
A healthy set of baby teeth gives the toddler/child the confidence to smile and enhances self confidence for them to have good social experiences.
As such, it is very important to care for our children’s baby teeth from the start so that they can have a healthy set of permanent teeth too.
Dr. Audrey Ng Sze Lin
DentalFirst, Bukit Jalil, K.L
Dr. Deborah Liew
TGGD Dental Clinic