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The Hood Magazine

Baby Teeth: Why It’s Important to Keep Them Cavity-Free

Aug 25, 2016 08:30AM ● By Hood Magazine
By Dr. Kim Suga, Family Dental Center - Sioux Falls 


It's never too early to get that first toothbrush out and start scrubbing. While baby teeth are maybe considered temporary, it is so important to take good care of them.


Between the ages of six months and two years, our 20 baby teeth begin erupting through the gums. These incisors, canines and molars are essential for maintaining good nutrition by allowing your child to chew, they’re involved in the development of speech and they help our permanent teeth by saving space and guiding them into position.


There is a good reason why we don’t just grow one set of teeth. Our jaws are simply not large enough to accommodate the quantity and size of our permanent teeth right away. So while our adult teeth are busy forming in our jawbone, our baby teeth keep space open and available so the much larger teeth can have a smooth passage into our mouths. It’s almost like the baby tooth is holding a place in line for the adult tooth to follow. Our baby molars are the key teeth in this process because they are much wider than the adult teeth that grow to replace them.


Many people think cavities in our baby teeth aren't such a big deal because they will end up falling out anyway, but the space we need for the eruption of our adult teeth is also lost when we get cavities between our baby teeth. The early loss of a baby tooth can lead to very crowded teeth when the rest of adult teeth grow in later. We need some baby teeth until we are 12 to 13 years old.


Taking care of baby teeth is not only important for holding space for adult teeth, but it’s also crucial for keeping a healthy and pain-free mouth. Cavities can lead to a sore mouth with the possibility of a dangerous infection. Healthy baby teeth will make everything less complicated. They will allow your child to feel good, stay well nourished and make the transition to adult teeth as easy as possible. It’s important to help your child brush their teeth twice a day and make sure sugary foods and drinks are kept to a minimum.