Your child’s baby teeth are essential to their health and development, not only for things like chewing and talking, but they also are necessary for healthy permanent teeth. To learn more about baby teeth, including what they are, how to care for them, and signs of concern, our Cary pediatric dentist is sharing everything you need to know!
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What Are Baby Teeth?
Baby teeth, or as dentists call them, “deciduous” or “primary ” teeth, are actually present in the jaws when they are born, though they don’t usually appear until the baby is between 5 and 12 months old. Over the next three years, a full set of 20 primary teeth come in, helping your child chew, supporting speech development, and giving them their cute smile!
Why Do Children Lose Baby Teeth?
Baby teeth are basically “placeholders” for adult, or permanent teeth. Around the age of four, the bones in your child’s jaw begin to grow. You may see spaces develop between your child’s teeth, which are necessary to make room for the larger permanent teeth. While the jaw grows, the root area of the baby tooth allows the permanent tooth a place to grow and break through the gums. As the permanent teeth grow through the root area, the baby teeth loosen and will fall out, usually starting around age 6 and the final baby teeth should fall out around age 12. Regular checkups with your pediatric dentist are necessary to make sure that the permanent teeth are coming in correctly and there is plenty of space for them.
Why It’s Important to Care for Baby Teeth
There is a common misconception that since baby teeth fall out, they don’t require the same level of care as permanent teeth. However, children’s teeth the same care as adult teeth. Without proper tooth brushing, flossing, and regular teeth cleanings, cavities and tooth loss can develop in baby teeth, which can lead to dangerous abscesses and infections in the tooth and gums. If baby teeth fall out prematurely, the necessary space for adult teeth may not form, causing permanent teeth to be crowded and possibly causing discomfort. This can lead to serious problems with their permanent teeth that may require cosmetic or restorative dentistry. Additionally, the habits learned in childhood are often the ones we carry into adulthood. Finding the best pediatric dentist for your child and setting up good dental health habits as soon as your child’s teeth erupt through the surface will ensure that they care for their teeth as they grow up.
Contact Our Pediatric Dentist in Cary
We want to help you keep your child’s smile healthy from their first tooth until their full set of adult teeth! Schedule a checkup today by calling us or filling out the contact form below!