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What Purpose Do Baby Teeth Serve?

Have you ever wondered why humans have two sets of teeth, primary teeth (also referred to as baby teeth) and permanent teeth? Our permanent teeth are big and strong and meant to last a lifetime, but what purpose do our baby teeth serve? Consider the size of your jaw when you were born compared to its size now, and there is your answer.

Why We Have Baby Teeth

There are a few reasons we have baby teeth which include size, space, position, and jawbone health.

Space: Think of your baby teeth as space savers. They save the space in your jawbone for your permanent teeth.

Position: Your baby teeth not only save the space, but they also help guide your permanent teeth into the proper position within your jaw.

Jawbone health: In addition, the roots of the baby teeth stimulate the flow of much needed nutrients to your jawbone to keep it healthy and strong so it can accommodate your permanent teeth.

Size: The major reason, however, is that the human jaw is not large enough to accommodate full-sized teeth at birth. Because there isn’t enough room for all 32 adult teeth in a baby’s mouth, less teeth and smaller teeth are required for your child to maintain good nutrition by learning to chew properly, and teeth are also required for proper speech development.

In rare cases: Also, in rare cases, a baby tooth can serve as a permanent adult tooth in instances when the permanent tooth does not erupt, leaving the baby tooth in place.