Ask Austin Family Dental: What is Important about Baby Teeth?
Dentists constantly talk about oral hygiene. It’s part of their job and they want the people they take care of to be as happy and healthy as possible. It is also common to tell parents to get children to take care of their baby teeth as much as possible. But what would be the point of it? If baby teeth fall out to make way for permanent teeth, then there should not be any real reason to try and preserve them, right?
There are several reasons why it is important to take care of baby teeth. Some of them are psychological, and others are biological. However, most people aren’t aware of them. That’s why we are going to talk about why dentists encourage the care of baby teeth.
It Instills Important Long-Term Dental Habits
People are naturally more likely to care about short term consequences over long term ones. We like instant gratification. When we need or want something, we expect to meet that need as soon as possible. And on some level, there is nothing wrong with that. It keeps us from dying or staying in a painful situation for too long. However, when we get too focused on short term satisfaction, we suffer long term consequences. Children and young adults often have not had the experience or time to get a grasp of the concept of long term results. They haven’t lived long enough to.
This is especially true with oral health. Ask any dentist. When we do not form healthy dental habits early in our life, we are less likely to pick them up in our later years. Then we get illnesses related to the lack of healthy habits. That’s why schools, parents, and other authority figures in a child’s life work hard to instill those long term habits as early as possible. This way, it can help preserve both the lifespan and health of their children.
Dentists Say it Preserves Growing Bones
Did you know that we start out with more bones as a baby than we do as an adult? This is because they fuse, morph and harden as we grow older to create a more permanent skeleton. This is brought up because just like any other bones during childhood, our jawbone does the exact same thing. It shifts and stays malleable and hardens when we reach closer to adulthood.
Our baby teeth, as they fall out are making room for adult teeth if nothing disturbs the natural growth process. If they are pulled prematurely, rot, or are even just knocked out of place, and there is nothing immediately to replace it, teeth shift out of place. If there is empty space for them to take up, even if there is no reason for them to do so, teeth will shift to make up for the gap. This is most likely a mechanism to protect your mouth, and it is called “nature’s braces.”
They become crooked or crowded depending on what is trying to fill the gap. In the worst-case scenario, their jaws can become maligned causing an over/underbite. It will take correction like braces or any other material to straighten them back out.
Kids Still Need Teeth to Function
This reason falls a little under the more “well that’s obvious” category, but oftentimes, the most common of reasons get overlooked. However, the most common of solutions or simplest of explanations tend to fall a little under our radar anyway.
Teeth help us talk, chew, and do other types of functions. All of which children are still in the process of learning about. So it would be a huge disservice to them to neglect their dental hygiene even now while they still have baby teeth. Not to mention, tooth decay hurts and is painful if it festers too long in their mouths. No decent parent would want to have their child suffer unnecessary pain. Especially when it can be prevented. If that alone is not reason enough to preserve baby teeth, then no other reason could possibly suffice.
Dentists tell us that is important to take care of baby teeth and it is easy to see why. We should always be in the habit of taking care of ourselves and our children by doing things that will benefit us in the long term. If that means taking time out to teach our children the importance of healthy habits by instruction and example, we should.