Do you remember the day you lost your first baby tooth? Maybe it fell out when you bit into an apple, or perhaps it dangled for a few days before you were brave enough to pull it. Baby teeth -- also called primary teeth -- are only around for the first few years of your life before they fall out and are replaced by your permanent, adult teeth. But even though you eventually lose them, it's still very important to take care of them.
It's a common misconception that you don't need to take care of baby teeth, but they do serve an important function. As you grow and develop, baby teeth act as placeholders for your adult teeth until they're ready to surface. If baby teeth that are not cared for fall out too early, adult teeth may not have a good space to emerge. Healthy baby teeth also help ensure the jaw develops the right way and in the correct shape [source: WebMD].
Good oral health at an early age also contributes to good overall health, since infections and tooth decay in the mouth can lead to infections and sickness in the rest of the body. Plus, cavities and tooth decay can be painful, even for young children [source: WebMD].
Not only will taking care of baby teeth make sure your child's mouth stays healthy, the hygiene habits you set early on for your children go a long way toward ensuring a lifetime of good dental health. But what exactly does that involve? Taking care of adult teeth includes brushing, flossing and sometimes using mouthwash, but is all that necessary for a young child's teeth? Isn't brushing enough? First let's take a look at why we floss and use mouthwash to take care of adult teeth, which will help to explain why applying these habits to your child's teeth help keep their mouth healthy, too.