Does the quality of care of baby teeth influence the health of permanent teeth? The short answer to this question is, yes. Although baby teeth, also known as milk teeth or primary teeth, are replaced by permanent teeth they play an important role in your child's dental development.
Baby teeth act as important place holders for the permanent teeth developing in the gums below them. In some cases, baby teeth are lost due to unnatural causes: they may need to be removed because they are unhealthy with cavities, or they may be knocked out. When this happens, the surrounding teeth will shift position to fill the gap created by the missing tooth. This, in turn, will impede proper emergence and placement of the permanent teeth waiting just below the surface. If a tooth must be removed or is lost due to another factor, your child's dentist can have a realistic looking false tooth constructed to hold the teeth in proper position.
In addition to acting as place holders for permanent teeth, primary teeth also aid in the proper development of muscles for speech and chewing. Your child should get his or her first tooth at around six months old, and all teeth are generally erupted by the age of two. Most children have 20 primary teeth, while the average adult has 32 permanent teeth. Baby teeth are lost naturally between the ages of 7 and 12.
Baby Teeth Care Now that you know how important baby teeth are, you need to take good care of them. Before your child has developed teeth, you can clean his or her gums with a damp cloth. Once the teeth emerge, use a baby-sized toothbrush and minimal toothpaste to gently cleanse the teeth. With proper care of baby teeth, your child can enjoy a lifetime of beautiful, strong smiles.