Congratulations on your family’s first addition! Most first-time parents have tons of baby-care questions when a baby is on the way and more than likely, even more once their little one arrives. No one can possibly prepare a new parent for all things Baby, but your dentist can answer questions about caring for your baby’s teeth.
Do baby teeth really matter?
Yes, baby teeth are just as important as adult teeth. They matter for 2 reasons:
- They help children chew and speak.
- They hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. For example, when a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded.
When will my baby’s teeth come in?
Believe it or not, your baby is born with 20 teeth. Their primary teeth are already in their places in your baby’s jaws. These teeth will begin to appear (erupt) and introduce themselves when your little one is between 6 and 12 months old. By the time your baby celebrates their third birthday, they should have a full set of 20 primary teeth. Check out this baby teeth eruption chart to see when you can expect which teeth to erupt.
Be prepared, Mom and Dad. Some babies’ gums become sore and tender when teeth first come in, and some (most) get all out of sorts. Try rubbing their gums with your finger or a small, cool spoon. They might “enjoy” a cold, wet wash cloth or very cold teething ring to chew and gnaw with aggression! Cold and gnaw-able is soothing. If your little one is extremely cranky and in pain, call and consult with us about other helpful options.
When should I begin caring for my little one’s teeth?
You can start the first few days after they are born. “Really,” you ask? Yes. Decay can occur as soon as a tooth pops into view. It’s important to protect your baby’s for years to come right from the start. Next question, “How?”
Here’s what to do:
- Clean your baby’s mouth during the first few days after they are born. Wipe their gums with a moist gauze pad or washcloth and continue doing so on a regular basis just to prepare their gums for brushing when the first tooth shows up.
- Until your little one is about 3 years old, you should brush their teeth as soon as they begin to come in. Use fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice twice each day – once in the morning, once in the evening. Do let your little one learn to brush their teeth with supervision to make sure they are using the right amount of toothpaste and learning to brush well.
- After they turn 3, or thereabouts, until they turn 6 years old, increase the amount of toothpaste used to the size of a pea. Again, continue brushing twice each day, morning and evening. Remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
- Continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day. Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste until you are comfortable they are able to care for their teeth properly on their own. Once two of their teeth touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.
When should the dentist examine my baby’s teeth for the first time?
It is recommended that a child visit their dentist within six months after their first tooth comes in and no later than twelve months. We will check for tooth decay and other problems your baby may have and show you how to take the best care of your baby’s teeth. We’ll discuss childhood habits that can have adverse effects on your baby’s teeth, like thumbsucking for example.
Again, congratulations! We are excited for your family and look forward to caring for your new baby’s teeth. If you have any questions regarding your baby’s oral care, don’t hesitate to call us. We cannot wait to meet him or her!
Quality Dental Care for Your Whole Family
3249 Sparks Road
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm