What You Should Know about Baby Teeth
Baby teeth may fall about after a while, but they serve some very important functions during the first few years of life. Let’s look at some of the most commonly asked questions about baby teeth to better understand these vital, transitional baby parts.
Your Baby’s First Teeth
Baby teeth first begin forming before your child is even born. You may not see them right away in your newborn, but they will be growing under the gums. The first teeth will probably begin to peek out between six and eight months, but it varies from one child to the next. They won’t necessarily appear in a specific frequency after that. However, your child should have all their baby teeth in by age three.
That initial set of teeth is great for eating all sorts of foods. Typically, the first teeth that appear will be the front ones. These are the central incisors, and the top and bottom ones should appear in rapid succession. After that, the teeth will usually start to appear from around the incisors and work their way backward, with lateral incisors and canines following within about a year after the central incisors.
By the time your baby has about four teeth on the top and four on the bottom, they should be able to eat just about anything that isn’t very tough. Crackers, cookies, meats, vegetables, fruits and much more should all start becoming a part of their regular diet.
When will your Child get Their Full Set of Teeth
Somewhere between a year and a half and three years, your baby should get their first and second set of molars. That finishes off the baby teeth set and gives your baby twenty teeth. The third set of molars is reserved for adult teeth, and are also called wisdom teeth.
At this point, your child should be able to eat just about anything with ease.
While new teeth are coming in, though, with each new tooth, your child will experience teething pain. They may want to bite down on anything they can put in their mouth. Teething rings and other tough items made for biting are good for working the pain out of their gums. Popsicles and other cold foods and beverages also help dull the pain. You can also rub Orajel or a similar product on your child’s gums to provide pain relief. Consult your dentist before using any medication on your small child, though.
Caring for Baby Teeth
Baby teeth will need extra special care. While they will be replaced with adult teeth later, they are meant to last the child for several years, so if they fall out prematurely, your child will have trouble eating, speaking and performing other basic functions.
You’ll need to take care of the child’s teeth by brushing them regularly. You want to be careful about using harsh brushing techniques. You can’t clean and care for baby teeth the same way you care for you own. You should use toothpaste and a toothbrush that are specially designed for baby teeth. Baby toothpaste is gentle and tastes pleasant, so that the child won’t be averse to having their teeth brash.
You should brush the tops, back and front of the teeth as well as the tongue, and then rinse out the child’s mouth to ensure all the toothpaste is removed. Brush gently and in a circular motion to remove plaque. You can even have your child help, teaching them to take some joy in brushing and caring for their teeth.
There is a condition that affects baby teeth known as baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood caries. This generally occurs when babies are given a bottle of milk at bedtime and then don’t have their teeth brushed or mouth rinsed afterward. The sugar in the milk pools around their teeth and gums and builds up acid that decays teeth.
The easiest way to prevent this problem is to simply brush the child’s teeth after their bedtime bottle or wipe their teeth and gums with a wet cloth. This will remove the sugar and protect the teeth for longer.
Remember that babies need to keep the same teeth until they are as old as twelve. By then, all their adult teeth should have come in, but parents should be giving their teeth just as much care as they would their adult teeth. That means that they need to be brushing them twice a day and making sure that the child eats a healthy and balanced diet that includes plenty of vegetables.
One of the better ways to prevent early childhood worries mentions one of the best dentists in Newington CT, is to make sure the child drinks nothing but water between meals. All juices, milk and their drinks that contain sugar should be saved for mealtime, where they are less likely to build up sugar around the teeth and gums. Brushing after every meal is ideal, and don’t forget to brush after the last bottle of milk at night.
Time for New Teeth
Your baby’s teeth will eventually fall out. It won’t happen all at once, but one by one (and sometimes two by two) the teeth will start to wiggle and shake and become loose. You don’t need to pull them out as soon as they feel loose. If you wait a while, they may simply fall out on their own. Once the teeth become very loose, though, it’s a good idea to pull them out before sending your child to bed, so the tooth doesn’t come loose at night and cause them trouble.
This process is known as shedding, and it starts to happen between six and seven years of age.
The baby teeth are coming out because new teeth are pushing them out. Their adult teeth will be coming in, and they need room to grow. These new ones will be their permanent teeth.
The last baby teeth should have fallen out by about age twelve, at which point, you can say goodbye to the baby teeth for good.