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Common Questions About Baby Teeth: Answered

Becoming a parent is a hectic time full of questions about how to best care for your newest family member. While you might get some insight from friends, family, and hospital staff, we’d like to offer answers to some common dental questions. Practicing good dental habits is just as important as everything else for setting your child up to be as healthy as they can be!

When do baby teeth come in? 

  • Babies are born with their first 20 teeth already in their jaws 
  • Baby teeth first start to erupt between the ages of 6 months and 1 year 
  • Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by age 3
  • Every child is different, but baby teeth tend to follow an eruption pattern – you might be able to predict which teeth will appear and when by using a chart like this one

What happens after they start to come in?

  • When baby teeth first come in, their gums can be sore
    • Gently rub them with a clean finger, small spoon, or wet gauze pad to soothe the pain 
    • Clean teething rings can help too 
    • If the pain and crankiness persists, contact a doctor or dentist
  • Since baby teeth hold space in the jaw for the permanent teeth, if a baby tooth falls out too early, then the adult tooth can drift into the space making it difficult for other adult teeth to evenly fill their spaces, causing crowding
  • Make sure to establish good dental habits from the beginning to avoid issues like those

When should we make our first trip to the dentist?

  • You should start taking your child to the dentist after their first tooth comes in, and no later than their first birthday 
  • In addition to checking for cavities and overall wellness, usually the dentist will show you how to clean your child’s teeth properly and manage habits like thumb-sucking

How do I maintain their dental care until they’re old enough to do it themselves?

  • Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth the first few days after birth – wipe their gums with a clean, wet washcloth or gauze
  • For children under 3 years old, start brushing as soon as their teeth begin to appear 
    • Use fluoride toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice 
  • Ages 3-6, use a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste, brush twice/day, supervise them, make  sure they don’t swallow the toothpaste

Not many new parents consider their baby’s dental health until it’s time for the first tooth-brushing. Learning about ways you can set your child up to have a healthy, happy smile in the future is one of the best things you can do for them. 

Interested in setting up your child’s first dentist appointment? Contact us to set it up! 

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