Milk teeth. What are they and are they important?

Milk teeth is the name given to baby teeth (known by dentists as the primary or deciduous dentition). Most young children have 20 baby teeth that come through gradually between six months and three years of age. They then begin to be replaced with adult teeth from around six years of age. A common misconception is that because these baby teeth will be lost, they are not important. This could not be more untrue.

Decay and neglect in baby teeth can lead to; 

  • Increased bacterial load in the mouth meaning the adult permanent teeth are more easily infected
  • Pain, swelling, discomfort and infection which can lead to all sorts of side effects including lack of sleep, general infection and sickness. This can further disrupt development.
  • Unaesthetic appearance of black and discoloured teeth
  • Tooth loss. Baby teeth are important for maintaining the space for the adult teeth. Early tooth loss can lead to space loss which may require extensive (and expensive!) unnecessary orthodontic treatment in the future. 

In some cases where people are born missing their adult teeth, baby teeth can (and must) last into adulthood. So take care of them! For more information on how to do so, see your Northbridge Dentists team - they have a wealth of information to share and for your to take home.