64 Where There Is No Dentist 2012
Why Baby Teeth Are Important
Baby teeth are just as important to children as permanent teeth are to adults.
They help a child to eat, talk, and look good.
However, many people feel that it is not worth the effort to look after baby
teeth. Nor is it worth fixing them. After all, parents think, the permanent teeth
will take their place.
This kind of thinking is understandable. The problem is that we are forgetting
one other useful purpose of baby teeth. Baby teeth keep space in the mouth
for the permanent teeth to grow in. If there is not enough space, the new
teeth will grow in crooked, and cavities grow faster around crooked teeth.
Under each baby tooth a new
permanent tooth is growing.
At the same time, extra
permanent molars are forming
at the back of the mouth,
inside the bone (page 43).
Front baby teeth become
loose and fall out (usually
6–7 years, but sometimes as
young as 5 years) ahead of
back baby teeth (10–12 years).
This is because the front
permanent teeth are formed
and ready to grow in first.
The permanent molar (1 PM) is often the first of the permanent teeth to grow
into the mouth. That happens at 6 years of age.
The first permanent molar grows into
the mouth by sliding against the back
of the second baby molar (2BM).
Slowly but steadily the upper and
lower permanent molars grow until
they meet and fit tightly together.