Primary Teeth: A Critical Component of Pediatric Dental Health

It might be an exciting milestone to see your baby getting their first tooth. Those pearly whites may erupt around the age of 6 to 9 months. These teeth are known as baby, milk, or primary teeth that form the cornerstone of pediatric dental health. 

The Ladera Ranch dentist stresses the importance of primary teeth and strives to educate parents about their significance. Let’s delve into why primary teeth matter!

What are primary teeth?

Primary teeth, also referred to as baby or milk teeth, commence their development beneath the gums during the second trimester of pregnancy. Around 6 to 9 months after birth, these teeth start to emerge above the gums. By the time children reach preschool age, they typically have a complete set of 20 baby teeth.

What are the functions of primary teeth?

The major functions of primary teeth are listed below:

  • Proper alignment of primary teeth helps in clear speech and phonetics.
  • Healthy primary teeth promote good chewing habits and facilitate nutritious eating 
  • Children with healthy and pleasing teeth and gums help build a sense of confidence in them and offer positive social interactions 
  • They hold an appropriate space for adult or permanent teeth to erupt 
  • They act as natural placeholders for permanent teeth
  • They impart a healthy, beautifully aligned, and symmetrical smile 

Why are primary teeth important?

The health and care of your child’s primary teeth is significant for several reasons. 

  • Taking care of primary teeth can pave the way for healthy and strong permanent dentition. 
  • Any damage or decay to the primary teeth can compromise oral health, form, and aesthetics. This can lead to poor nutrition and a lack of self-esteem. Furthermore, the infection can spread to the underlying permanent tooth buds damaging them as well.
  • Extensive tooth decay and gum disease in primary teeth can result in tooth loss, which can hamper the natural space maintained by them for the permanent teeth to erupt in a correct alignment. 

How to care for your child’s primary teeth?

As a parent, you must care for your child’s baby teeth in the following ways:

  • Clean your child’s gums from 3 months of age by rubbing them with moist cotton or gauze
  • Avoid giving the bottle at night for longer periods 
  • Avoid giving your child sugar for 1 year after birth
  • Brush the teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush when their primary teeth erupt 
  • Use fluoride toothpastes 
  • Take them to the dentist at least once every 6 months 

Your child’s primary teeth are crucial for ensuring the proper alignment of their permanent teeth. Instill good oral hygiene habits in them and schedule regular dental visits to promote better oral health and overall wellness. 

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