Primary teeth, sometimes called baby teeth, are important to your childs health and development and should be cared for just as you would permanent teeth. Primary teeth serve critical functions as a child learns to eat and speak. These teeth are important for the normal growth and development of the face, and they maintain space on the dental arch and guide the eruption of permanent teeth. Primary teeth also foster an attractive appearance and self-esteem.
Though primary teeth come in when your child is an infant and some primary teeth start being replaced around age 6, the back teeth (molars) can remain in until age 12 or 13. Without proper care, primary teeth can decay and possibly cause toothaches, gum disease, abscesses and other serious health problems. Decay or premature loss can result in decreased space, causing misaligned or crowded teeth and potential future orthodontic needs. Further, dental decay serves as a reservoir for bacteria, so when a childs first permanent molar comes in (usually around 6 years of age), these teeth can be infected prematurely.
For all of these reasons, primary teeth are significant and require good daily hygiene and regular professional attention, just like permanent teeth. Dr. Eddie recommends a visit to the dentist by age 1, because education, prevention and individualized risk assessment are the keys to keeping a happy mouth and smile!
Published in the Sep/Oct 2011 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Article and Photographs provided by Dr. Eddie
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