Primary teeth have multiple purposes. They allow children to properly chew and digest food, and they also act as guides or placeholders for the permanent teeth as they erupt.
Even though primary teeth fall out after a time, they’re still very important to children’s health and should be well cared for.
First of all, your children need their primary teeth to chew their food properly. This allows them to digest food efficiently, and properly absorb the nutrients they need to grow.
Primary teeth also stand in for the permanent teeth before and as they erupt. Their presence in a child’s mouth retains the space necessary for the permanent teeth to erupt into the correct position.
Think of it this way: the different parts of children’s mouth don’t grow in isolation; everything grows and develops in relation to the rest. They jaw and palate grow in relation to the teeth and gums and tongue, for instance.
For these reasons, it’s very important that primary teeth are well cared for, and that they don’t decay and fall out early. If this happens, it can throw off the healthy development of the whole mouth, and cause a variety of orthodontic and dental oral 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:
- Visit the dentist at least twice a year for a dental examination and cleaning
- Maintain a thorough and consistent oral health care routine at home, including brushing twice daily, and flossing nightly before bed
- 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