What are milk teeth?
Your child has a total of 20 teeth in his mouth. These baby teeth start coming in the mouth from the 6 th month and continue to erupt till your child is 3 years of age. These milk teeth or primary teeth as they are called remain in your child’s mouth till the age of 12. However, the adult teeth begin to erupt from the 6 th year. The first adult teeth to come into the mouth are the molars. These back teeth are called “the 6 year molars”. This tooth has to last the child for a lifetime. Subsequently, the other baby teeth fall off and the adult teeth come in its place. This transition phase is called the “mixed dentition phase “.
Why are baby teeth important in my child’s mouth?
Says Dr Jacob, Senior Pediatric Dentist——“The baby teeth has to remain in place in your child’s mouth till the adult teeth come into place. Here are 5 reasons why the baby teeth are important
Your child’s milk teeth save the space for the adult teeth to come into place. If the milk teeth are lost early due to tooth decay, then the other teeth can drift into the space. This blocks the adult teeth and makes it difficult for the adult teeth to come into the proper place.
Healthy adult teeth
The adult teeth are close to your child’s milk teeth. Any tooth decay and subsequent infection can quickly reach the permanent teeth. This can damage the enamel of the growing adult teeth underneath. Hence, the care of milk teeth is important for healthy permanent teeth.
A good set of teeth is needed for proper chewing of food. Only when your child can chew his food well and can eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, he will get the nutrition required for his growth and development. Tooth pain from tooth infection can make your child feel sick and refuse to eat properly. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Speech and face development
The tongue, lips and cheeks deflect off the teeth in producing sounds. The milk teeth in your child help in the development of speech and correct pronunciation. The milk teeth also provide support to the developing facial muscles and help give shape to your child’s face.
Self esteem and confidence
A child with tooth pain can have difficulty in paying attention to studies at school. Decayed teeth can also interfere with your child’s social interactions and affect their confidence and self-esteem. Tooth pain can also make your child miss school.”
The bottom line says Dr Jacob: Teaching your child to develop good oral care habits with their milk teeth is very important! These early habits will help them keep those permanent teeth healthy for life. Also remember to take your child to his friendly dentist once in 6 months for a periodic check-up.