Why Are Primary Teeth Important?

Deciduous teeth, also known as primary or baby teeth, begin initial development before birth. Once the child reaches between the ages of six and twelve months, primary teeth should begin to erupt. Most children have a full set of 20 baby teeth by the time they are four years old.

A common fallacy about baby teeth is that they are insignificant because of their impermanence, when in fact, primary teeth are crucial for several reasons.

Adult gently revealing baby’s two healthy bottom teeth

Speech Development

As children learn to speak, the proper positioning of teeth is crucial for creating the correct sounds of letters and words. If teeth are missing or out of alignment, your child may develop a lisp or have trouble with enunciation.

Eating and Nutrition

Decayed or malformed baby teeth can lead to health issues or malnourishment, as healthy, aligned teeth are necessary for proper chewing and eating habits. For example, if you notice your child having trouble chewing food properly, they may have an alignment issue that needs to be addressed.

Straighter Permanent Teeth

One of the most essential roles baby teeth have is to serve as placeholders for permanent teeth, also called secondary teeth. Having the primary teeth properly positioned helps keep incoming teeth on the correct path for proper alignment.

Adult holding healthy white baby tooth with slightly blurred happy child smiling in background


Children with healthy teeth are more likely to have higher self esteem and share their smiles with others. This learned behavior begins with primary teeth and can create the foundation for having self-confidence later in life. As a result, healthy primary teeth lead to more positive social interactions and relationships.

Healthy Teeth

When left unchecked, decaying baby teeth can actually affect the health of the underlying gum tissue and bone, leading to periodontal disease. Once the bacteria invades that deeply, primary teeth can prematurely fall out and create health and spacing problems for secondary teeth that erupt later. These issues can become serious and long-lasting, and cause discomfort or pain for your child.

It is extremely important to keep your child’s mouth free of bacteria and adhere to regular six month visits with your pediatric dentist. Even before your child’s teeth begin to erupt, you can promote healthy oral care by gently wiping your baby’s gums clean with a damp cloth after eating. Approximately six months after your child’s first tooth erupts, they should have their first pediatric dental visit.

If you would like more information about primary teeth or how to properly address your child’s oral health, please contact your pediatric dentist. If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in the Chino Hills area, feel free to give us a call or request an appointment online.

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