Baby teeth may seem like no big deal, but in actuality, they are crucial to the development of a toddler’s growing jaw by saving space for the adult teeth they’ll eventually have. In general, babies are not born with any visible teeth but begin “teething” around 6 months old and will have 20 baby teeth when done. Baby teeth are important for chewing but they also play a big role in the development of the jaw and normal speech.

The primary function of baby teeth is to make space for the adult teeth to develop underneath. Toddlers get their baby teeth because adult-sized teeth would be too large to fit into their mouths at that age.  As children use their baby teeth to bite and chew, this exercises the jaw and helps the bones grow. All of these things together allow the adult teeth to come in properly and have enough room.

You may think that losing a baby tooth to cavities is no big deal since a child will lose them in the future anyway, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Missing baby teeth provide the space needed for adult teeth so if that space is not being “held” it could cause the adult teeth to come in crooked or become crowded from not enough space. A prematurely missing baby tooth can even delay the eruption of an adult tooth because bone can fill in above it.

In order to give your child the best chance to get straight, even adult teeth, you need to promote oral health at home and early. Once your toddler begins to get their baby teeth in, make sure they are brushed twice a day.  As your child gets older, this is something that you can teach them to do (supervising to make sure it’s done correctly) on their own and instill good dental habits at an early age.  Bring your child into the dentist for regular check ups and cleanings so that the process becomes familiar to them. Good dental habits and baby teeth that are well-cared for can’t guarantee your child won’t need braces in the future but it can definitely help!

Call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an appointment for your toddler.