Healthy primary teeth play an important role in the healthy development of children. They allow them to chew and digest their food efficiently, and contribute significantly to their oral development as they grow up.
What are primary teeth?
Humans, and many other mammals, grow two sets of teeth. Primary teeth (also called baby teeth) are the first set of teeth to develop, and in humans typically grow in starting at about one year old.
What are primary teeth for?
Primary teeth serve a few different functions. First of all, they make it possible for children to chew their food properly, which in turn helps them better digest it, allowing them to take in the nutrients they need more efficiently.
They also serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth, guiding them into the proper eruption positions.
Why do primary teeth matter in orthodontics?
Because primary teeth act as guides for the erupting permanent teeth, 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 result in the need for orthodontic treatment, such as braces, in the future.
How to Prevent Early Loss of Primary Teeth
Luckily, preventing early loss of primary teeth is quite easy! The main trick is to keep them clean so that decay doesn’t develop, and this means a regular brushing and flossing routine is key, and regular visits to 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 does loose a primary tooth too early?
Visit your orthodontist for a consultation and exam if your child looses a primary tooth prematurely. The orthodontist may prescribe a dental appliance called a space maintainer to preserve the structural integrity of our child’s mouth until it’s time for the adult teeth to erupt.
The orthodontist will also be able to give you advice on caring for the remaining primary teeth, including more effective cleaning techniques to keep any more of them from falling out.