Are you excited to finally see your baby’s teeth poke out a little bit? While baby teeth aren’t permanent, caring for them is essential for your little one’s overall teeth development. They help your child do basic things like speak and chew. The less attention you give your child’s teeth, the more chances their teeth will become crooked or crowded as they grow old and the more susceptible they are to dental problems.
Teething is the process that kids undergo when their tooth is about to erupt, and it can also be a painful process. Make sure you’re equipped by knowing everything about baby’s teeth: from important milestones to tips on how to care for them.
Teeth Development Milestones
The teething process varies per baby: some are born with their first teeth showing already, while others begin the process at 4 months old and above. The average age for the teething process is 6 months. Your baby is born with 20 primary teeth, which are already present in their jaws by the time they are born. The complete set of teeth will all be out by the time your child turns 3 years old.
You will know your baby is undergoing the teething process when they show the following symptoms:
- Sore and red gums
- Flushing cheeks
- More frequent chewing and gnawing
In terms of the order, your baby’s bottom incisors (bottom front teeth) and top incisors (top front teeth) are usually the first ones to come out at 5 to 8 months. These are then followed by the top lateral incisors (either side of the top front teeth) and the bottom lateral incisors (either side of the bottom front teeth) between 9 to 12 months. Their first molars (back teeth) erupt at around 12 to 16 months while their canines come out at around 16 to 20 months. The last to come out are their second molars, between 20 to 30 months.
Caring For Your Baby’s Teeth
When should you start visiting a dentist for your baby’s teeth? The answer is as soon as the first tooth comes out. Visiting a dentist this early will give you an idea on how to deal with baby’s teething and avoid problems as the baby’s teeth start to develop. The dentist will also be able to show you proper ways to clean baby’s teeth.
Here are some tips on how to protect your baby’s teeth:
- Wipe baby’s gum with clean and moist washcloth on the first few days after birth.
- When a baby’s teeth start coming out, they’re most likely to have tooth decay. Make sure to brush the teeth of babies younger than 3 years old by using a smear of fluoride toothpaste, which is about the size of a grain of rice. Don’t overdo it. Brush them twice a day or depending on the advice of your dentist.
- If teething becomes too uncomfortable, consider massaging your baby’s gums using cold washcloth. Avoid using teething tablets or gels.