The primary teeth, commonly called “baby teeth,” are the first set of teeth to emerge during the first years of life. Eventually, the baby teeth fall out and the permanent teeth erupt in their place. While the twenty primary teeth that your child has are only temporary, they play some critical roles towards their development, overall health and well-being. Not taking proper care of primary teeth can result in several consequences, including missed school days, speech delays and the need for future orthodontics.
When it comes to pediatric dental care, prevention is key. This includes proper brushing and flossing habits as well as routine visits to a pediatric dentist for cleanings and x-rays. Since oral care should really begin during infancy, dental health is in the hands of the parents for many years until the child can tackle oral hygiene on their own.
When Primary Teeth are Neglected
Just like adult teeth, baby teeth that don’t get proper care can become severely decayed. When a cavity is not treated (or filled), the decayed tooth may fall out earlier than it should. In turn, the following consequences can occur:
- Missed School Days: Untreated cavities are one of the leading reasons for missed school days in the United States? At its advanced stages, tooth decay can be very painful and possibly lead to an infection, which can often cause a child to stay home from school and miss valued education days.
- Poor Nutrition: Our teeth are designed to help us chew our food. When a tooth is decayed or missing, eating can be difficult. Children who have decayed teeth may avoid eating, especially healthy options like fibrous fruits and vegetables. Without a balanced diet, your child may have challenges in their physical and mental development.
- Compromised Speech Development: Certain teeth are used to pronounce certain words and syllables. If your child is learning to speak and has multiple teeth missing due to improper care, he or she may experience delays towards their speech development.
- Misalignment of Permanent Teeth: Baby teeth hold the place for adult teeth until they are ready to erupt. If a primary tooth is lost prematurely, the adult tooth may erupt out of place. Misalignment can affect the appearance of your child’s smile as well as their bite. Therefore, orthodontic treatment will likely be needed to correct this misalignment.
Think baby teeth don’t matter? At The Pediatric Dental Team, we love sharing the benefits of keeping your child’s smile healthy and strong during all stages of growth. We offer full-service dental care just for kids!
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