The Role of Baby Teeth in Your Child’s Speech Development

Primary teeth, sometimes referred to as baby teeth, play an essential role in your child’s smile. Their health can influence the health of your child’s permanent teeth even before they erupt through the gumline, and baby teeth that are lost prematurely can impact more than the alignment of your child’s smile.

Did you know that your child’s primary teeth play a role in their speech development as well? Here’s why those little teeth are essential for proper speech and even self-confidence in your little one as they grow!

Teeth Help Control Proper Articulation

The teeth work together with the tongue and lips to manipulate air as it flows out of the mouth to form words [1]. As your child grows and their primary teeth erupt, they’ll soon use these teeth to begin forming words and speaking!

Without their baby teeth, it’s more difficult for children to properly pronounce words. Ideally, you want your child to keep all their baby teeth until they fall out naturally, and good oral care is essential for healthy teeth!

Tooth Decay Can Impact Speech

Early tooth loss from decay has the potential to impair speech development [2]. Unfortunately, tooth decay in common in children today, with 42 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 11 having at least one cavity [3].

Tooth decay is typically caused by a diet high in refined sugars and a lack of proper dental care, and can affect your child’s ability to learn, their concentration, and their speech [4]. Regular checkups and good brushing and flossing habits at home can protect your child from tooth decay.

Premature Tooth Extraction Can Cause Delays in Speech Development

If your child’s baby teeth are lost prematurely due to an accident or decay, these missing teeth can cause them to mispronounce words and even delay their articulation skills. These speech delays can impact your child’s quality of life and even their self-confidence [5].

While accidents where baby teeth are lost do happen, you can do your part to prevent premature tooth extraction by ensuring your child’s teeth are free from decay!

Don’t Overlook Alignment Issues

Tooth decay isn’t the only culprit in speech impairment. An improper bite, also called a malocclusion, could also impact the way that your child speaks [5]. Your dentist may suggest you follow up with an orthodontist if your child’s speech problems are suspected to be the result of a jaw or misalignment issue.

It’s essential to care for your child’s baby teeth just as you would have them care for their adult teeth. Daily brushing and flossing, a healthy diet, and regular dentist visits are essential to keeping your child’s teeth strong and healthy!

Sources:
1. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/mouth-teeth.html
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3633299/
3. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/dental-caries/children
4. https://www.health.state.mn.us/people/oralhealth/programs/healthybaby.html
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5514393/
6. https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/malocclusion

Summary
The Role of Baby Teeth in Your Child’s Speech Development
Article Name
The Role of Baby Teeth in Your Child’s Speech Development
Description
Did you know that your child’s primary teeth play a role in their speech development as well? Here’s why those little teeth are essential for proper speech and even self-confidence in your little one as they grow!
Author
Lansdowne Dental Associates