Why Primary Teeth Are Important

Many parents may think that primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, are not very important because they will fall out over time and permanent teeth will present in their place. However, this is a misconception that can lead to serious oral health problems for children.

Primary teeth are essential for children's growth and development in many ways, and they need to be taken care of properly from the moment they erupt until they are naturally lost. Here are some of the reasons why primary teeth are important. 

Primary Teeth Help Children Chew and Eat Foods

One of the main functions of primary teeth is to allow children to chew and eat foods that are nutritious and essential for their growth and well-being. Children who have tooth decay or missing teeth may have difficulty eating crunchy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, that provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They may also experience pain, sensitivity, or infection that can affect their appetite and digestion. As a result, they may suffer from nutritional deficiencies, malnutrition, or obesity.

Primary Teeth Help Children Speak Clearly

Another important function of primary teeth is to help children develop their speech and language skills. Primary teeth play a role in the formation of certain sounds, such as "th," "la," and "s". Children who lose their primary teeth too early may have trouble making these sounds correctly, which can affect their communication and comprehension. They may also develop speech habits or patterns that are hard to change later on. This can lead to frustration, embarrassment, or social isolation for the child.

Primary Teeth Help Maintain Space for Permanent Teeth

Primary teeth also act as placeholders for the permanent teeth that are developing underneath them in the jawbone. They guide the permanent teeth into their proper position and alignment when they erupt. If a primary tooth is lost due to decay, injury, or extraction, the adjacent teeth may shift or move into the empty space. This can cause crowding, crookedness, or impaction of the permanent teeth when they come in. This can affect the child's bite, appearance, and oral health in the long term.

Primary Teeth Help Children Stay Healthy

The health of primary teeth affects not only impacts oral health but also the overall health of children. Primary teeth that are decayed or infected can cause pain, inflammation, fever, or abscesses that can spread to other parts of the head and neck. In some cases, these infections can become life-threatening if they are not treated promptly. Antibiotics may temporarily relieve the symptoms, but they will not cure the underlying cause of the infection. The only way to stop the infection is to treat the decayed tooth with a filling, a crown, or an extraction.

To have your child's teeth examined, contact a children's dentist in your area.