When it comes to protecting your child’s teeth, the more you know, the better a job you’ll be able to do. Especially for first time parents, your knowledge about early dentistry and baby teeth may be limited, because this is a whole new adventure for you. So, here are a few things perhaps you didn’t know about baby teeth, and how you can best care for your child when it comes to oral health.
Your baby’s first tooth is a big childhood milestone. You’ll be saying ‘so long’ to that gummy grin, and you’ll likely deal with a little fussing as your baby’s teeth begin to erupt and grow in. This process can come with a little pain and irritability for your baby, as well as a low grade fever on occasion. That said, a lot more changes during this stage than the way your baby’s smile looks.
The Importance of Primary Teeth
Baby teeth, also called primary teeth, serve a major purpose for your child. Those baby teeth prepare the mouth for the permanent teeth that will carry your child through adulthood. These primary teeth serve the obvious purposes– chewing and eating, but they also aid your child in speech functions, while also serving as placeholders for the permanent teeth that will eventually begin to replace them.
Keeping these baby teeth healthy as your child grows and matures will help ensure a healthier dental path for them as they approach adulthood. Proper dental hygiene and preventative dental care work in tandem to help keep your child’s teeth and mouth healthy and prevent dental problems down the road that can be both painful and costly.
Quick Facts about Baby Teeth:
- Teething generally begins around six months of age, but can start anywhere between 3 months and 12 months varying baby to baby.
- Baby teeth begin to form while the baby is still in utero. In fact, tooth buds begin forming during the second trimester.
- By age 3, most babies have grown in all their primary teeth– 20 in total.
- Signs of teething include excessive drooling, irritability, red or swollen gums, ear rubbing, low-grade fever, sucking or biting, and sometimes facial rashes.
- You can help soothe your baby’s sore gums with teething toys, a cold washcloth used as a compress or to bite down on, chilled foods, and of course– lots of extra love and cuddles.
- Even before your baby’s teeth come in, it’s a good idea to wipe down the gum area daily with a wet washcloth.
- As soon as teeth become visible, you should begin brushing them twice daily with a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste. Encourage your baby to spit as soon as he or she is able.
- Baby teeth can get cavities just like permanent teeth. Work to avoid this with proper at home care and regular exams and cleanings with your pediatric dentist.
- Limit the amount of sugary juice and foods your baby has to help protect the primary teeth against decay.
- Visit a pediatric dentist when the time comes. The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends seeing a dentist before the child’s first birthday, or six months after the appearance of that first baby tooth.
Our team at Tedford Family Dentistry in Chattanooga would love to help you and your child take exceptional care of those precious primary teeth. If you need to schedule an appointment for your child, contact us today!