Your baby’s toothless smile is precious but soon enough their baby teeth will appear.
They usually appear after the first six months of your child’s birth.
These primary teeth also known as milk teeth are already in the child’s jaw from birth.
However, they only erupt after six months to a year.
Hence, your baby’s first tooth does not appear before that and your child undergoes teething.
This article discusses Baby Teeth. Learn about a few facts that parents should know about it.
Keep reading to know more!
What Are Baby Teeth?
A baby’s mouth contains 20 deciduous teeth.
These include four first molars, four second molars, four canine teeth, four central incisors and four lateral incisors.
Every four sets of teeth are divided into two upper arch teeth and two lower arch teeth.
From these two, one lies on one side of the mouth and the other.
In comparison, adults have 32 permanent teeth.
These contain 4 second premolars and four first premolars alongside 4 wisdom teeth that appear later in life.
All of these teeth grow gradually in babies.
They will mostly have a full set of primary teeth by 3 years of age.
Usually, the first teeth to appear are the bottom front and central teeth known as the bottom central incisors.
However, it can be different for every child.
Other than that the eruption of the upper front teeth is also common.
Though the upper four teeth erupt after the bottom central incisors.
Next, gradually other teeth emerge till the age of 3.
They come in pairs ate each side of the jaw.
Eventually, the mouth is full with 10 upper teeth and 10 lower jaw teeth.
While these teeth erupt, your baby will feel teething pain.
These teeth assist the child to bite and chew properly.
The central and lateral incisors help them bite and cut whereas canine assist chewing.
The molars help to grind as well as chew.
In the mouth, the tooth structure contains the crown which is the surface of the tooth, the neck which connects the crown to the root and the root which goes through the gum to the jaw bone.
Usually, these primary teeth stay in a child’s mouth from 2 and a half years to 7 years.
They start to fall off by 6 years of age.
Importance of Baby Teeth
So when primary teeth eventually fall out, they aren’t really important, right? Wrong!
Deciduous teeth play a much important role than you may think.
Teeth essentially not only help to bite, grind and chew food but also to speak.
This facilitates the clear speech of your child in the early years.
These teeth are actually reserving space for permanent teeth that will grow after they fall out and are in the process of growing under the gums.
Therefore, if these teeth fall off too soon then it impacts the permanent teeth which cannot find enough space.
This leads to overcrowding as well as crooked teeth.
Moreover, primary teeth are smaller in size than adult permanent teeth and are also whiter but that does not mean that they do not need care as they are prone to cavities and decay.
If they consume liquids with sugar, they can get baby bottle tooth decay hence properly maintained deciduous teeth provide children good nutrition.
They can refuse food if they have tooth decay or missing teeth as it becomes harder to chew.
With the presence of primary teeth, children can consume food according to their growing age rather than only relying on liquids.
Good oral care of teeth also prevents any damage to permanent teeth and they erupt normally.
This eventually gives the baby’s face and mouth a natural appearance with aligned teeth.
Therefore even if primary teeth fall off, they are not useless.
Hence, it is important to pay a visit to the dentist at least 6 months after the first tooth erupts and take good care of them.
More on that later!
What Should Parents Know?
As a parent, you should know some facts about baby teeth.
These will aid you in understanding any delays and maintaining good oral care of your child’s teeth.
- Cleaning gums after birth
Your child has their primary teeth under the gums waiting to erupt.
Hence, you should start cleaning their gums and mouth with a damp cloth.
This will help prevent decay as soon as the tooth erupts.
Baby teething age may begin when the eruption is near.
Baby teething symptoms include sore gums that result in pain and your child may feel itchy and irritated.
Moreover, they may drool a lot too.
Give your child a teething ring that they can chew constantly to relieve the itchiness and tenderness.
Plus you can gently wipe a cool spoon, a finger, or a wet pad in their gums.
This rubbing and wiping can soothe their gums.
Furthermore, you can give them nutritious solid food rather than liquid foods.
Babies may also get a fever during teething.
Hence, if the symptoms persist then you should consult the doctor who may advise acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Also, strongly avoid any teething gels with benzocaine, teething tablets or homeopathic tablets and gels with belladonna.
These ingredients may numb your child’s gums to teething pain.
However, the FDA has found potential side effects which are not good for your child’s health.
Some people use teething necklaces which can pose a risk of strangulation and choke for the infant.
Therefore, consult your doctor before you use any remedy or medicine and gel.
- Start Brushing!
You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as you see baby teeth coming in.
Generally, girls’ teeth will erupt before boys.
Though 4 teeth do erupt every 6 months.
However, for some children, it may take 12 to 14 months for the first tooth to appear.
Hence when you see teeth, you should help your child brush with a smear of fluoride toothpaste.
And as usual, they should brush twice a day.
However, as soon as they turn 3, you can increase the toothpaste quantity from a smear to a pea size.
Supervise them regularly till 6 years of age to see if they are brushing and spitting correctly.
Buy them a child-size toothbrush that fits in their mouth.
Also, make them habitual for brushing twice a day.
You can assist your child till you seem fit.
If they are unable to brush on their own or spit properly then they should be able to do it for them.
When the teeth growth is enough that two teeth touch then they also need to clean between them which is harder to do without supervision.
- Baby teeth fall out
Everyone is aware that these teeth fall out.
This does not begin before your child is 6 years old.
From 6 to 8 they lose incisors while molar and canines fall from 9 to 13 years of age.
Moreover, as primary teeth dictate the growth and position of adult teeth, it is surprising that babies who were breastfed had about 72 percent fewer crooked teeth than those who were not.
Though as soon as your child’s teeth erupt and fall out, it is crucial to visit the dentist.
Read below to find out why!
Visit The Dentist Regularly!
You should take your child to the dentist 6 months after the eruption of their first tooth.
This is usually on their first birthday.
They will check the growth of your child’s primary teeth and check for decay in their gums and teeth.
They will also examine their oral tissue and bite and look for any issues in the jaw.
This checkup will allow them to maintain your child’s teeth in a healthy manner and care for their oral health and hygiene regularly.
In order to make this procedure anxiety-free, the dentist will approach your child in a friendly manner and will first ask the parent to sit on the dentist’s chair to make the child familiar with the procedure.
They may clean your child’s teeth as well as apply a fluoride varnish.
This will help prevent any tooth decay to their primary teeth.
Furthermore, a dental appointment will help the parents get some instructions from the dentist to maintain good oral hygiene and the health of their child.
They will discuss the need for fluoride, their oral health development milestones as well as thumb sucking.
They will guide about good dental hygiene practices that will keep decay and cavities at bay.
You can discuss how to deal with teething and what to do when your child is in pain.
Furthermore, discuss the proper nutrition for your children that will avoid cavities.
They may recommend including more healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables in their diet and avoid sticky foods such as candies.
The saliva does not wash the sugar in these sticky foods that easily which can cause cavities.
Furthermore, they will advise you to give any sugary food with meals rather than as a separate snack.
Once you know all this you will be able to build better oral habits for your child.
This will help them in the long run and give them properly aligned teeth.
Lastly, you must schedule regular dental checkups for your children.
The dentists can examine their teeth growth and eruption as well as their fallout.
So Summing Up
Your child’s baby teeth are as important as their adult teeth.
They set the basis for the healthy growth and alignment of the permanent teeth.
Hence, they are not to be taken lightly.
Schedule regular appointments with your doctor to keep them in check.
Moreover, regularly brush your child’s teeth and give them nutritious foods so that they avoid decay.
If you have any further questions, let us know in the comments!