A guide to baby teeth and oral health
Teething is often a source of confusion for new parents. As a tooth erupts through the gums, it can cause changes in a baby’s behavior. Parents may notice a baby is suddenly fussier or cries more frequently. “No pain, no gain” is a mantra that can be applied to developing baby teeth. Dr. Marra and his staff at Huntersville Family Dentistry support you and your baby throughout this sometimes painful process even before the development of the baby’s first tooth. Here is your guide for what to expect when your baby is teething.
When Do Babies Get Teeth?
So what’s the pain all about? Tooth eruption. Your baby enters the world with a set of 20 primary teeth just waiting to break through the gums. Between six months and one year old, those primary teeth begin to erupt. By the time a child is three-years-old, he or she should have a visible full set of 20 primary teeth!
Usually, the two front teeth at the top or bottom erupt first, but this is not always the case and likely not a problem.
See Our Baby Teeth Diagram Below
Parents should monitor for teething symptoms, signs include pain and discomfort due to sore gums. Some babies even run a teething fever. Don’t be alarmed. Body temperature in most cases is only slightly increased.
While you can’t prevent the pain, you can manage the baby’s level of pain and discomfort throughout the teething process. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about appropriate over-the-counter infant pain relievers if sleep. Other pain relief options include the use of a clean, cool teething ring or massaging the baby’s gums with your finger or a wet gauze pad.
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How do baby teeth impact development
Good oral health care starts at birth. Start by wiping gums, as early as a few days after birth. Yes, baby teeth will eventually fall out, but maintaining the health of these teeth will impact the development of permanent teeth. Implementing good dental practices now sets the stage for a lifetime of good oral health.
The main functions of baby teeth are chewing and forming speech. These teeth are like placeholders for adult teeth, so how baby teeth grow often shapes how adult teeth will grow in. Proper care of baby teeth reduces the risk of tooth decay, bacteria buildup, and tooth loss. When teeth breath through, you can begin using a pea-sized baby-friendly toothpaste.
When to take the baby to the dentist
For many first-time parents, one of the biggest questions is, “When do I take my baby for his or her first dental office visit?” Typically a child will have a first dental visit around his or her first birthday. Some dental practitioners advise that children are actually seen before the first birthday because the first tooth may appear before this time.
Before your child’s first exam, make a list of questions about any oral hygiene or health concerns you have.
As your baby grows into a toddler, help him or her brush teeth at least twice a day. It’s fine to let toddlers practice brushing independently, but parents need to continue to brush a toddler’s teeth after the practice session is done.