Everything New Parents Need to Know About Your Baby’s Teeth
As parents, we look forward to the many milestones our babies reach. Special “firsts” help us monitor our child’s development and reassure us that things are progressing as they should. One of these big milestones is the appearance of baby teeth.
How soon your baby’s teeth come in varies. For some, the first teeth may appear at five months, for others, it will be a little later. By three years old, all 20 of the baby teeth will have come in. You can expect the top four and bottom two center teeth to come in first.
There’s a lot to know about baby teeth, especially if you’re a first-time parent. We’ve broken it down for you, and are sharing the most important things you need to know.
The Purpose of Baby Teeth
You might not have taken a chance to think about WHY baby teeth are important. Well, there are several purposes for them!
- First, and perhaps most obvious, they allow children to chew solid foods.
- They act as placeholders so permanent teeth can come in correctly.
- Baby teeth place a big role in speech development. The teeth actually help to guide the tongue to its proper position for speaking.
Even if this is your first baby, you’ve definitely heard teething stories from other parents. But how do you know if your baby is teething, or something else is going on? Teething symptoms include:
- Swollen gums.
- A slight fever.
- Trying to bite, chew, and suck on things.
Teething is an uncomfortable time for babies, but there are some ways you can help.
- Rub the gums with a cool cloth.
- Get a teething ring.
- Check with your pediatrician to see if an over the counter medication is safe.
Did you know that you can start practicing oral hygiene before the teeth even come in? The earlier you get started, the better!
- Wipe your baby’s gums with a soft, moist washcloth twice a day to clean away bacteria and plaque.
- As the teeth come in, switch to a soft, small head toothbrush.
- Use water to start and move to a small amount of fluoride toothpaste once most of the teeth are visible.
Starting early with good oral hygiene can help you avoid problems later on. It will also teach your child that taking care of their teeth is a daily job that should not be overlooked.
When your child is about a year old it’s time to start visiting the dentist. Your dentist can offer dental cleaning tips, spot signs of trouble before they develop into serious problems, and offer advice on things like thumb sucking, pacifier use, and cavity prevention.
It’s never too early to start practicing good oral health! Taking care of your child’s baby teeth, developing an oral hygiene routine, and starting early with regular dental checkups will provide your child with a lifetime of benefits, a beautiful smile, and a happy healthy mouth.