Keeping baby teeth healthy is essential to the proper development of your child’s mouth. Taking care of baby teeth now can help prevent the need for braces later on.
In general, baby teeth are extremely important to children’s health and development. This is because baby teeth allow children to eat and digest food properly, and to speak properly too. So for these reasons alone, taking good care of children's baby teeth should be a priority for parents.
However, baby teeth also play an important role in another area: the growth pattern of permanent teeth. Since they function as place holders and guides for the permanent teeth as they erupt, healthy baby teeth are an important factor when it comes to a child's eventual need for orthodontic treatment.
If baby teeth fall out early due to decay or injury, the permanent teeth may erupt in the wrong positions. That's why good oral hygiene and a thorough brushing and flossing routine are just as important when your child has his or her baby teeth as it is when the permanent teeth come in.
It’s never too early to start your child’s oral hygiene routine!
To get a good head start, you should start cleaning your child’s teeth on a regular basis as soon as they start coming in. Even before that, wiping the gums with a damp cloth after meals can help reduce bacteria. And of course, teaching your child to brush and floss should start as early as possible, too.
If your child’s baby teeth do end up falling out too early, a dentist or orthodontist can prescribe a space maintainer to keep the surrounding teeth from shifting into the wrong positions. That way, the emerging permanent teeth will still have the structure necessary to grow in where they're supposed to.