Seeing your little one’s first teeth come in is a big milestone, and not always an easy one. After the fussiness and soreness that comes with teething shows actual results in the form of teeth, there are probably a lot of questions too. We all know that baby teeth are supposed to fall out at a certain point, but it’s also natural to wonder how similar they are to adult teeth.
One very common question is whether or not baby teeth have roots. This can also lead to related questions about how to care for baby teeth, and what the potential is for toothaches. The caring team at AC Dentistry is here with some straightforward answers and information to help you keep your child’s smile as healthy and happy as possible.
Do baby teeth have roots?
Yes. Baby teeth have roots just like adult teeth.
Baby teeth are there because adult teeth are too big to fit in a child’s growing jaw. But while they are not permanent, they still need to be able to do the things that adult teeth do, like chew food and help with speaking. Along with the other parts of the baby tooth, roots play a key role in making sure baby teeth are able to do that.
There are four main parts of both adult teeth and baby teeth, and they all play a key role in oral health:
- Enamel: The very hard, thin visible outer layer of the teeth.
- Dentin: The thicker inner layer that makes up most of the tooth.
- Pulp: The soft tissue inside of the tooth containing the nerves, blood vessels, and regenerative cells that produce dentin.
- Root: As the name implies, the roots are at the bottom of the teeth and anchor the teeth into the gums and jaw.
For proper health and development of baby teeth, the roots need to keep them secure until adult teeth start to push them out later in childhood.
Why Roots Are Important for Baby Teeth
Baby teeth need to stay firmly planted into the gums and bones just like adult teeth. Although they will become wiggly and fall out eventually, the roots make sure they stay in place until that time comes.
Every child is different, but adult teeth will usually start to come in by the age of six and will continue until the age of 12 or so. Baby teeth roots make it so your child can continue to chew and talk without too many wiggly teeth during this crucial time period!
Caring for Baby Teeth & When to See a Dentist
Just like adult teeth, keeping baby teeth healthy is critical. Don’t take them for granted just because they will fall out. Cavities, toothaches, and infections can all develop, which can be painful and have potential long-term concerns for your child.
Oral hygiene for baby teeth is crucial. Take the following steps to ensure your child’s teeth, including the roots, stay healthy until those adult teeth come in:
- Start brushing as soon as those first baby teeth come in
- Use a flosser to keep bits of food out of the gaps
- Avoid too many sugary foods
- Avoid milk or sugary drinks before naptime or bed, the acid can break down enamel in baby teeth
- See a dentist for early dental care — it is recommended to make that first appointment by one year, or within six months of the first baby tooth
Your dentist can provide instructions for oral care and perform a full evaluation to ensure the mouth and teeth are developing properly.
In some cases, the roots of baby teeth can work too well and prevent adult teeth from coming in when they are supposed to! In this situation, a pediatric dentist may need to extract a stubborn baby tooth.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry
Going to the dentist can be scary — we get it. But it should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!