Baby teeth are a very important part of early child development. They prepare a child’s mouth by establishing a healthy place for permanent teeth to grow. Baby teeth remain in the mouth for eight to ten years, and it’s very important to maintain proper care and to see a dentist regularly to pave the way for a healthy adult mouth. Baby teeth are also known as primary teeth, milk teeth, or deciduous teeth.
The first baby teeth can appear as early as three to six months of age. Typically, all 20 baby teeth will usually erupt by age three. The first adult (permanent) tooth erupts behind the baby teeth at about 6-years-old.
Baby teeth help children to do the following:
- Chew food easily and properly
- Speak more quickly and clearly
- Hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums
Baby teeth are just as prone to cavities as adult teeth. In fact, more than 50 percent of children will be affected by tooth decay before age five. You can help keep your child’s teeth healthy by teaching them proper oral hygiene from a young age.
When a baby tooth falls out prematurely or is lost to decay, the permanent teeth behind that space can shift into the empty spaces. This results in teeth erupting into incorrect spaces because of an obstruction by the shifting teeth. All in all, it’s very important to ensure proper oral hygiene with baby teeth so that permanent teeth can be healthy too.
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