What’s The Big Deal About Baby Teeth?

Did you know the technical term for baby teeth is “deciduous teeth?” Whatever you call them, though, do you ever find yourself feeling curious what function these baby teeth really serve? In fact, do you sometimes wonder if caring for baby teeth is actually all that important? Few people understand why baby teeth exist. If they did, they might be more diligent in making sure their children are taking great care of their smiles. That’s because baby teeth are actually an important part of the smile’s development.

Why It’s Important to Care for Baby Teeth

Newborn babies’ heads are not large enough to hold adult-sized jaws. Plus, if they were natural childbirth would be nearly impossible. For this reason, babies are born with baby teeth, perfectly sized to function within their growing smiles, and then fall out, naturally, when the full-sized, adult teeth are ready to erupt (or appear).

Because baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth, if one falls out or must be extracted early, it can sometimes lead to alignment problems as the permanent teeth erupt. This is why pediatric dentists frequently recommend restorative treatment for cavities and other problems, in children’s baby teeth. It can help preserve the baby tooth until the permanent tooth is ready to come in, in its place.

A Few More Fun Facts About Baby Teeth

  • Did you know that humans have 32 permanent teeth, but only 20 baby teeth? This can vary person-to-person, as not everyone has all four wisdom teeth, but most people have only 20 baby teeth!
  • Humans are not the only mammals to have “baby teeth.” In fact, most mammals, including dogs and cats, actually have two sets of teeth!
  • Other species of animals have even more than two sets of teeth. Snakes, for instance, are frequently losing and erupting new teeth!
filed under: Children's Dental Services, Tips/Advice