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Why do we have baby teeth?

Baby teeth might be something we take for granted, but actually there are several very good reasons why we humans aren’t born with a single set of teeth that we retain for the rest of our lives … or at least until the sugar gremlins come to visit.

 

Without baby teeth, infants and young children wouldn’t be able to chew their food properly during the time that their adult teeth are developing, and speech development would be severely impaired if we all had to go through years with nothing more than a set of toothless gums. However, the main reason we have smaller baby teeth is because our growing jaws simply couldn’t accommodate a full set of 32 adult teeth, and so our 20 baby teeth act to preserve room in our mouths until the adult set develops.  In addition, the placement of our baby teeth ensures that when our adult teeth do come through, they appear in a reasonably well-organized arrangement instead of all over the place.

 

Although many people think it really doesn’t matter if baby teeth are lost early due to decay because the child is going to eventually lose them anyway, what actually happens is that the other teeth move to fill any gaps left, which can cause overcrowding later. That’s all the more reason for taking care of youngsters’ teeth and teaching them good oral hygiene from an early age!

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