Baby teeth: What do you need to know? For first time parents especially, the mysterious miracle of baby teeth can be confusing, exciting and everything in between. We’re going to break down all of your burning questions one by one to ensure that you’re at ease with what to expect and how to handle tooth care for your bundles of joy…
But first: why do they exist? It may seem strange that as humans, we live our lives with two sets of teeth; one for a few years and the other for the greater part of our lives. Baby teeth allow us to chew, smile and speak properly; they’re smaller and spaced out so that our permanent teeth can grow in with the necessary amount of space allotted for them. Believe it or not, they actually play a pivotal role in our future dental health.
When will my child’s first tooth erupt?
Typically, a baby’s first tooth will begin to erupt between the ages of 6 months and one year. The two bottom incisors, or bottom “front teeth”, are generally the first to erupt and are usually followed by the top two incisors.
How many teeth can we expect to erupt & at what ages?
Children generally have all of their baby teeth between ages 2 and 3 years. There is a tool called a tooth eruption chart that can help you to monitor if your child’s teeth are erupting in the right order and by the targeted ages.
When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
We recommend beginning to brush your child’s teeth once the first tooth erupts. This will get your child used to the sensation of brush bristles; just remember to brush gently and to brush twice daily. When it comes to choosing a toothbrush and a toothpaste for your baby’s teeth, we suggest: using an age-appropriate brush (do note that they come in different sizes), and a smear or size of a grain of rice amount of fluoridated toothpaste once your child is one year old. Kids typically don’t like mint flavored toothpaste because they find that it’s “spicy”. We always tell people to change up the toothbrushes since it tends to keep kids interested if you’re having trouble getting them to brush. Another option, depending upon age, is letting the child try to brush first and then rotate turns with the caregiver. Dr. Richard shared that when her kids were tough to brush (typically toddler ages), she would try to change up the routine by either changing the toothbrush, or a song, or have them hold another toothbrush or a toy, and even look at a book when it was her turn to brush their teeth.
When should I start flossing my child’s teeth?
We recommend beginning to floss your child’s teeth as soon as two teeth next to each other touch (not all kids’ teeth touch like they do when they are adults). As noted above, this will typically be the bottom or top two incisors.
Does nursing cause tooth decay?
While breast milk does offer a plethora of nutritional benefits to your baby, it does contain sugars that could potentially lead to tooth decay. That being said, formula often contains sugar as well; just make sure to brush twice daily once your child’s first tooth has erupted. It’s important to note that nursing a baby to sleep or letting them fall asleep with a bottle can cause cavities, so do keep that in mind.
Is it normal that my child’s baby teeth are spaced apart?
Yes, spacing is not uncommon. When they first emerge, baby teeth will naturally space apart. Spacing is to allow for room for secondary teeth. If you notice crowding, no need to worry; just be mindful of keeping the teeth clean.
Should I be concerned if my child experiences bleeding while teething?
It’s normal for your child to experience a drop or two of blood while teething, so no need to panic if that’s the case. If your child is experiencing heavy bleeding (i.e. more than a tiny amount) while teething, then it’s best to contact your dentist as well as your pediatrician just to be safe.
When should my child start seeing a dentist?
We typically recommend that your child starts seeing a dentist by age 1 or when the first teeth erupt from the gums; whichever occurs first. At HDG, we do offer pediatric dentistry as one of our services. We’re committed to fostering and protecting your child’s dental health from infancy through the teenage years and beyond.
When will my child lose his or her first tooth?
Most children begin to lose teeth by ages 5 or 6; however, losing teeth at ages 4 and 7 is not out of the ordinary either. More often than not, your child will lose his or her baby teeth in the order that they erupted. This means that the bottom or top two incisors are typically the first to fall out. Do note that if your child’s baby teeth are lost too soon, it can cause problems when permanent teeth erupt.
Have other questions about baby teeth? Feel free to give us a call, shoot us a text or reach out via our contact form!