Baby NibblerYou probably know that it’s important to take care of a child’s baby teeth, but do you understand why? It’s a common question that patients have. “Why worry about a baby tooth if it’s eventually going to fall out?”

Well, for starters, baby teeth are around a little longer than you might think. Incisors (front teeth) fall out around age 5 or 6, while molars are last to fall out by 10 or 11. So while baby teeth aren’t permanent, it’s still important to have healthy, functioning teeth during this period. A baby tooth that’s lost before its time can cause permanent teeth to erupt out of position. This can be notoriously hard to correct with orthodontics, and can even sometimes causes the child’s face to develop asymmetrically. An appliance called a space maintainer may be placed to keep teeth from drifting and assure a more perfect future for that tooth to come.

As well as avoiding problems from missing teeth, proper oral hygiene learned during childhood is more likely to be continued throughout adulthood. So you really are setting a foundation for a lifetime of good oral health. Furthermore, one of the best ways to show your children the importance is to lead by example! Children notice everything parents do, so set a good example and take care of your own teeth as well!