Primary teeth serve some very important purposes. They allow children to properly chew and digest their food, and act as guides or for the permanent teeth as they erupt.
Although primary teeth eventually fall out, they’re very important to children’s health and should be well cared for.
Children need their primary teeth to chew their food properly. Proper chewing in turn allows their bodies to digest the food efficiently, thereby properly absorbing the nutrients children need to grow.
Primary teeth also hold the places of the permanent teeth before and as they are ready to erupt. They retain the space necessary for the permanent teeth to erupt into the correct position.
The different parts of children’s mouth don’t grow in isolation; each part grows and develops in relation to the rest. They jaw and palate grow in relation to the teeth and gums and tongue, and the permanent teeth grow in relation to the primary ones.
For these reasons, it’s just as important to care for primary teeth as it is to care for adult teeth. If they develop decay and fall out too soon, the healthy development of the whole mouth might suffer, resulting in a variety of orthodontic problems and other dental health issues.
How to Care for Primary Teeth
Primary teeth are cared for just like adult teeth are. To keep primary teeth healthy, children should:
- Maintain a thorough and consistent oral health care routine at home, including brushing twice daily, and flossing nightly before bed
- Visit the dentist at least twice a year for a dental examination and cleaning
- Eat nutritious foods and consume enough calcium on a daily basis so that teeth grow healthy and strong
- Limit sugar intake (sugary treats should be an occasional treat, not daily sustenance)
- Wear a mouth guard while playing contact sports, to prevent primary teeth being knocked out