Keeping your child's primary teeth healthy is important. Although these teeth will be eventually replaced by permanent teeth, primary teeth are still needed for multiple reasons. Here are a few of them:

Primary teeth help your child effectively masticate his or her food.

Primary teeth that are lost by natural means are rapidly replaced by underlying permanent teeth. However, when a primary tooth is extracted due to decay or is lost due to dental trauma, there may be a prolonged period before a permanent tooth erupts in the resulting space. As a result, your child's dietary needs could suffer until the replacement tooth grows in.

Primary teeth serve as placeholders for adult teeth.

Primary teeth save spaces for the permanent teeth that will eventually present. Thus, the alignment of the primary teeth helps to guide the adult teeth into their proper position. If primary teeth are not in their proper position, they may not offer sufficient guidance for permanent teeth to erupt in a straight pattern.

Primary teeth help the jawbone and jaw muscles to develop properly.

The primary teeth develop inside the jawbone. As a child eats, bite pressure is transferred from the teeth to the bone of the jaw. This pressure offers stimulation to the jaw bone to incite the production of new bone cells. This helps keep the jawbone healthy and developing properly.

In addition, primary teeth are used to tear and chew food. This action regularly exercises the jaw muscles to help them develop properly.

Primary teeth affect speech development.

When primary teeth are positioned properly, they help your child pronounce words correctly. The tongue uses the teeth as a border to help in the proper formation of words. Missing teeth can cause your child to have to compensate in the way that he or she forms words, and speech problems could result.

You may notice that your child is not able to announce /th/ and /s/ easily with missing teeth. When teeth are shed normally, this condition generally only lasts a short period until the adult teeth appear. However, when teeth are lost early and the eruption of the adult teeth is prolonged, your child may become accustomed to the new pattern of speech and need assistance adjusting to proper pronunciations.

To learn more reasons that your child's primary teeth are important, schedule a consultation with a general dentist in your area. He or she can offer you professional advice to help your child's primary teeth stay in great shape until they are shed.