Why Your Child’s Baby Teeth Matter

Most people assume that baby teeth aren’t as important as adult teeth since we lose them early in life. But the truth is that baby teeth really do matter for a variety of different reasons. 

Background on Baby Teeth

An infant’s 20 primary teeth are already in place within the jaws at birth. They start to appear between 6 months and 1 year of age. The emergence of baby teeth often results in sore gums that can be alleviated with gentle rubbing. The average child will have all 20 primary teeth in place by the age of 3.

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Primary teeth are critically important as they help our little ones chew food and form words. Baby teeth also hold space for permanent teeth that will soon emerge from beneath the gums. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, the adjacent teeth might drift into the empty space, making it challenging for adult teeth to find space when they finally come in. This is one of many reasons why taking your kid to a child’s dentist early in life is so important.

Don’t Delay That First Dental Visit

According to the American Dental Association, the first dental appointment should be scheduled within six months after the child’s first tooth comes in. Do not wait until beyond your child’s first birthday to have him or her seen by a dentist. This visit will give your dentist a chance to check your kiddo’s teeth for decay and other issues.

How You can Care for Your Little One’s Teeth

It is imperative that you take care of your child’s baby teeth from the get-go. The first step is to wipe your baby’s mouth in the first couple of days after birth. Use a washcloth or a moist gauze pad for this quick rub. 

If your child is under the age of 3, brush his or her teeth three times per day and floss where teeth touch, as soon as the teeth have entered the mouth. Use fluoride toothpaste the size of a lentil. If your child is between 3 and 6 years old, use a little bit more toothpaste, roughly the size of a small pea and brush three times per day and floss where the teeth touch. Continue brushing your child’s teeth until you are confident that he or she can brush them on his or her own.  

Kids start to get sufficient hand-eye coordination around the age of 8.  If your child wants to brush and floss on his or her own, that’s great!  Let he or she brush and floss, then an adult should follow up behind.  An adult can brush and floss first, whichever method works best to get the job done. 

Once your child has two teeth that touch, you can teach him or her how to floss! Encourage your child to floss each time he or she brushes to maintain oral health into adulthood. And don’t forget to schedule regular dental appointments at Playtime Dental. 

Five Things Parents Need to Know About Teething

Of all your baby’s milestones, one of the most exciting is the arrival of the first baby tooth. Teething occurs when the first baby tooth begins breaking through the baby’s gums. You may not know what to expect during this time in your baby’s life, so we’ve put together a list of the five things you need to know when it comes to teething. 

1. When Teething Begins

The lower front baby teeth usually come in first. One to two months later, the upper front teeth make their appearance. This phase usually begins at about six months but it can be anytime between three and 12 months. All the primary teeth should come in by age 3.

2. Signs of Teething

Drooling is typical when baby teeth come. Keep a bib handy to wipe the chin to avoid chapping. Drooling may cause the development of a rash or redness. Have some Vaseline or skin cream handy. 

Your baby may be irritable and cranky, and may not want to eat because of sore gums. You might find your baby pulling his or her ears and rubbing his or her cheeks during the teething process. Because of the discomfort of teething, your baby’s sleep pattern may be disrupted as well. 

Swollen gums during teething may cause a low-grade fever.  However, if a high fever or diarrhea does occur, contact your child’s physician for an appointment because these symptoms are probably caused by something else. 

3. Teething Pain Relief 

If your baby is getting fussy because of teething, these remedies might help: 

  • Teething ring. This is a baby product used to soothe the gums, something a baby can gnaw and rub against the gums. Shop carefully for a safe product.
  • Cold, wet wash cloth. Parents can cover their finger with the wash cloth and apply soft pressure to the baby’s gums.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers. Ask your dentist for a recommendation.

4. Caring for New Teeth 

Once those teeth start coming in, it’s time to buy your baby’s first toothbrush. Take time to clean the teeth after each feeding. This is the first step in establishing lifelong good dental habits for your child.  This is also the time for your baby’s first trip to the dentist to get recommendations for proper care.