Awareness about the kids teeth or the milk teeth or the primary teeth (as we dentist call them) is not much among the parents.
These are just milk teeth and will fall off eventually, is what we dentist hear routinely in our practice.
But is this really the case?? Well actually these teeth are going to fall off one fine day, but the most important point here is should we save them or preserve them till the time they are still their in our kids mouth? The answer is YES.
The milk teeth or the primary teeth are as important as the permanent teeth. They serve many purposes the same way the permanent teeth do. The milk teeth start falling and the permanent teeth start coming at around the age of 6-7 years, and the complete set of the permanent teeth erupt by the age of around 12 years (except the wisdom teeth). So, we need to preserve the milk teeth for approximately a decade or even more which is the major part of our children’s childhood.
The primary teeth serves many purposes for the child, that should not be ignored.
Helping in Speech: The eruption of teeth and kids learning words and how to speak go almost parallel to each other. The teeth definitely play a very important role in speech. Learning to talk is also important for the social development and the cognitive skills. So, if the teeth are decayed and finally are missing (especially the babies front upper and lower teeth) there will be some difficulty in pronouncing certain words. This might lead to loss of confidence among the peers as your child might find difficult to pronounce certain words. e.g. the “th” sound at the end of “tooth” is difficult to pronounce if you don’t have the front two teeth.
Health and Nutrition: The way to food is through the mouth, and to chew that food teeth are required. So, if there is a loss of teeth due to nursing bottle caries or normal decay in the teeth, your child will find it difficult to chew the food, either because of the pain or due to the absence of teeth it would just be difficult to chew in that area. This further would lead to loss of interest in food, weight loss and weakness. So, healthy teeth are the way to good health and nutrition of our kids.
Self Confidence: A smile is the first thing we see in a person, and what if the smile either doesn’t have teeth or has carious teeth. The confidence level of a child goes down when he or she is mocked by his or her friends for having an unpleasant smile. It reduces the child’s self confidence. And with bullying becoming more prevalent in schools these days, child can get bullied for as simple thing as his or her teeth. So, the parents can help prevent that by making sure the teeth are healthy and in good shape.
Pain and Discomfort: If the cavities in the milk teeth are not taken care of when they are in the initial stages, it might lead to pain and infection which can be severe and also sometimes fatal. This pain will lead to more dentist appointments, painful treatments, missed school, parents missing the work and taking kids for appointments. So, it would be better to take kids for a routine dental check up at least once in 6 months and get any treatment that might be required at that stage and prevent the hassle of the lengthy, time consuming procedures the child might find uncomfortable to sit for.
Alignment of Permanent teeth: The alignment of the permanent teeth depend almost completely on the primary teeth. The primary teeth basically act as the space maintainers for the permanent teeth to come at the right place. If lost early, they are unable to give room to the permanent teeth leading to so called the crooked smile by drifting and tipping of the permanent teeth, which will then need an orthodontic (braces) treatment to correct it. So the best way to avoid this is to preserve the milk teeth for the permanent teeth to erupt in their right place.
Spread of Infection: An untreated primary teeth might lead to the spread of infection till the permanent teeth which lie very close to their roots. This might lead to the infection or morphological alterations in the tooth germ of the permanent teeth.
To sum up, the primary teeth play a very crucial role in the development of kids both mentally and physically, and as parents it is our duty to make sure our kids are getting proper dental care.