We are all familiar with “baby teeth,” the set of teeth we have that fall out during our childhood into adolescence. What we may not know is that baby teeth are scientifically known as, Deciduous Teeth and are actually developed during the embryonic stage of pregnancy. This first set of teeth usually begin to erupt from the gums in infancy and continue to grow until around the age of 6 when the adult teeth begin to replace them.
Why do we have them?
It may seem strange to think that we grow and then lose a whole set of teeth at such a young age. It begs the question, why do we have them, and what was their purpose? One of the biggest functions of baby teeth is to begin the essential formation and development of the jaw and mouth structure in preparation for our permeant teeth. These baby teeth maintain the necessary arch structure within the jaw to allow for proper future growth. This then essentially creates a holding space for which our adult teeth can grow into. This also helps form your child’s beautiful smile structure now and for later growth. Baby teeth are also crucial in learning and practicing speech at such a primary stage of development. These early teeth also allow us to learn essential bodily skills and practices that are crucial for our growth such as, chewing and eating.
How to care for them
Caring for baby teeth is fairly similar to caring for permeant teeth, the same principles apply in terms of keeping them clean and healthy. With that being said it is important to not minimize the amount of care needed even if your child has only a few teeth. No matter what your child or baby is eating at the moment you should remember that they still can get cavities. Even babies that are only drinking milk and or formula can develop cavities from the sugar in those products. As such you should begin the oral hygiene process by wiping your baby’s teeth with a damp cloth after feedings. As your child grows in age you should adapt their oral care to accommodate their changing diets and teeth development.
Make losing teeth a positive experience!
Though we may not all remember when our baby teeth came in, a lot of us do remember when we lost our first tooth! It can be hard seeing our kids in pain when teething and when they lose their baby teeth, but don’t forget to make it a fun experience. The happiness from kids when they lose their first tooth and get a treat from the tooth fairy under their pillow is a joy like no other. However the tooth fairy decides to come, your kids will have a positive and memorable experience.