How Baby Teeth Set The Stage For Adult Dental Development

Smiling baby revealing teeth

When our baby’s teeth come in, there are two thoughts that often come to mind. First is a concern over the sleepless nights and frustrating days to come as your child fusses from the discomfort of teething. The second is that your children will finally be able to start enjoying some of life’s greatest pleasures as their food options begin to expand. It’s important that you also concern yourself with the health and longevity of your child’s baby teeth, as they’re essential to straight teeth that come in properly aligned. This means protecting the health of your child’s baby teeth is just as important as how you care for your own.

Reasons That Baby Teeth Are Essential To Lasting Oral Health

As your baby teeth come in, they begin to perform an important function. While helping your child chew food and speak clearly are essential to proper development, they also begin to set the stage for your child’s adult teeth. Primary teeth have the following roles to play:

  • Position and Alignment of Adult Teeth – Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, hold the position your adult teeth will ultimately fill. When a tooth is lost early from decay or accident, the neighboring teeth can begin to move into the gap, causing problems for teeth yet to erupt.
  • Adult Dental Health – Right against the roots of the primary teeth can be found the developing adult teeth. Your baby teeth are the barrier between these teeth and decay, so infection in the baby teeth can have lasting effects on your lifelong oral health. In the worst cases, these developing teeth can actually become malformed or develop cavities before they ever erupt.
  • Good Nutrition – Teeth open up a whole new world of food to your child, and a full set of teeth ensures they have an easy and comfortable time eating. This means your child will have the best chance of getting all the nutrition they need. Cavities can cause pain and can lead to an infection that could endanger your child’s health.
  • Facial Development and Speech – Your entire mouth is engaged in the act of speaking, with your tongue, cheeks, and teeth all playing a role in shaping sound. In addition, your teeth help your face to form naturally and appropriately.

These are just a small selection of the ways that your child’s primary teeth help them develop a beautiful and sparkling smile as they get their adult teeth.

How To Ensure Your Child’s Baby Teeth Are Healthy

It all starts in the crib. Every night you should wipe your child’s gums down with a clean, soft, damp rag. Once they start teething, you should switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush using only the barest dab of toothpaste, ensuring they don’t swallow any. As they get older, you should continue helping them develop good brushing habits. Doing this until they reach the age of 8 will mean you’re able to let them start taking care of their own teeth, having set a firm foundation for good oral health.