Healthy baby (primary) teeth allow children to chew and digest their food efficiently, and contribute significantly to their oral development as they grow up.
What are primary teeth?
Like many other mammals, humans grow two sets of teeth. Primary teeth are the first set to develop, starting when children are about one year old.
What are primary teeth for?
Primary teeth play two main roles. First, they allow children to chew their food efficiently. In turn, this helps their bodies better digest food and take in the nutrients.
Primary teeth are also placeholders for the permanent teeth as they emerge, guiding them into the correct positions in the jaw.
Why do primary teeth matter in orthodontics?
Since primary teeth guide the erupting permanent teeth into their proper positions, when they fall out early as a result of decay or other damage, it can cause the permanent teeth to erupt in the wrong positions. This can make orthodontic treatment necessary in the future.
How to Prevent Early Loss of Primary Teeth
When it comes to preventing early loss of primary teeth, oral hygiene is your number one ally. Brush and floss your child's baby teeth regularly so that decay doesn’t develop, and visit the dentist for cleanings and checkups.
If your child plays sports, a mouth guard can help protect the primary teeth from any damage from impact during games.
What if my child looses a primary tooth too early?
If your child does lose a primary tooth prematurely, visit an orthodontist for a consultation and exam. The orthodontist may prescribe a space maintainer, a dental appliance that preserves the space left by the missing tooth until it’s time for the adult teeth to erupt.
The orthodontist can also provide advice and insights on oral health care, including demonstrating more effective cleaning techniques to keep any more teeth from falling out.