Losing the first baby tooth is a much-anticipated milestone of childhood. Many children are proud to see their “adult teeth” emerge and, as a result, parents can sometimes overlook the importance of their child’s primary – or baby – teeth. Although not permanent, a child’s primary teeth serve many purposes, including saving the appropriate amount of space for each adult tooth. In their role as placeholders, primary teeth help ensure that adult teeth will have space to grow into and often help them grow straighter than they would without the guidance of other teeth. In addition, primary teeth equip children to consume a wide variety of foods – including meats, vegetables and fruits – that are necessary for proper nutrition.
They also play an important part in speech development as the child learns how to pronounce words and syllables. The interaction of the tongue, teeth and gums is a major factor in learning to speak well. Finally, when properly cared for, baby teeth help instill a good sense of self-esteem in a child. Children with healthy teeth often take pride in their appearance and are motivated to learn personal hygiene skills. For all of these reasons, it is vitally important to impress upon your children the importance of caring for all of their teeth – primary or adult. For more tips about establishing good dental habits with your children, talk to a dentist on your True Dental Discounts, dental plan. He or she will help you start your child on a lifelong path of good oral health.