How Important Are Milk Teeth?

Care of our first teeth is important, for many different reasons.

A recent study found that many parents believed that their child’s first teeth were not that important, and that it was only when adult teeth come through that real care needed to be taken. Whilst we can understand the logic of this, it is very definitely incorrect for many different reasons.

At The Lodge Dental Suite in Cheshunt, we believe in looking after patients from a young age, typically around one year old. This early intervention can help to prevent many dental problems in children in the years to come, enabling them to grow up with strong and healthy teeth.

Milk teeth

Our first teeth start to come through at approximately one year old, although this does vary from child to child. They remain with us until they start to fall out and be replaced by our adult teeth, starting at around 6 or 7 years old. Not all of these fall out at the same time though, and it is entirely possible to have some milk teeth remaining as we enter adulthood.

Although temporary, having healthy milk teeth is important, for many reasons.

Pain

Nobody likes to see their children suffering, and, as anyone who has had one will know, toothache can be extremely painful and cause a child a lot of distress. In addition to this, young children who need to have decaying teeth extracted, will often need to have this done in hospital, adding more stress in their young lives.

Speech development

When we learn to speak, our teeth play an important part in creating sounds and words. Try saying ‘teeth’ without your tongue touching your front teeth, for example. As you can see, losing teeth prematurely may result in a long period of time before the adult teeth come through, causing the child to develop speech impediments. These may stay with them for many years, even after the adult teeth finally come through, and could have a significant impact on their educational development.

Crooked teeth

If milk teeth are lost before adult teeth are ready to come through, this can cause them to become very crooked when they finally do. Our milk teeth act as a ‘placeholder’ and should only naturally come out as our adult teeth are ready to erupt. If the milk teeth are lost before this is due to happen, other teeth surrounding the gap may encroach into the space. As the adult teeth come through, they may then find their path blocked, forcing them to come through crookedly into any space that is available. If a number of milk teeth are lost, it isn’t difficult to see how this could create a major problem for the child’s teeth.

With good home care and regular visits to our child-friendly dentist at The Lodge Dental Suite, your child is on the right path to having strong and healthy teeth both in childhood and in their adult life. If you would like to register at our Cheshunt practice, you can do so by calling us on 01992 643388. Our team are on hand to assist and we look forward to welcoming you!