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Food & Health

Baby's First Tooth: What to Expect?

Your baby’s teething woes can start as early after birth. Find out why.

Did you know that some babies are already born with the lower front incisor erupted, or the tooth erupts shortly after birth? This is called a natal or neo-natal tooth respectively. If such a tooth is present, it is advisable to have your baby examined by a paediatric dentist as this could interfere with proper feeding, or cause ulcers in the gum. It’s never too early to find out more about gum and dental care for your baby. Read on for tips by Dr Terry Teo, Paediatric Dental Specialist at The Dental Studio, a Singapore Medical Group (SMG) Clinic.

  • When should you expect the first tooth?
    Dr Teo: The first baby or primary tooth erupts at around six months of age. The lower front incisor erupts first, followed by the upper. There is a range of timings of baby tooth eruption, usually plus or minus six months.
  • Is late eruption caused by nutrient deficiency?
    Dr Teo: Late eruption does not mean that there is a lack of nutrition or any health deficiency present. It is recommended that the first dental check be done upon first tooth eruption or latest by one, to ensure that oral hygiene and tooth decay risk habits are properly assessed and discussed.
  • How old should your child be for the first dental visit?
    Dr Teo: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children should have their first dental check-up when the first tooth erupts, or latest by a year of age. This is because the most common dental disease of childhood (ECC) – baby bottle caries or dental decay – may affect a child’s tooth the moment it erupts.
  • What to expect at your child’s first dental visit?
    Dr Teo: Based on the recommendation of the first dental visit by age one, parents will be aware that their child will be too young to cooperate and may struggle or cry. The goal is to ensure a safe and proper examination of your child’s oral condition.  The paediatric dentist and dental team are trained in baby clinical handling, and will instruct on how to properly carry and position the child securely while this is being done. Fortunately, children so young do not remember such an experience and if the examination is properly done, will not end up fearful or traumatised.
  • Can babies be introduced to semi-solid and solid foods when the set of baby teeth is not grown?
    Dr Teo: Most babies start on semi-solids such as baby food at around six months of age or earlier. Also, they seldom have any teeth but gums are strong enough to handle such soft foods and purees.

Check out the video below for more baby teething basics:

What are some other questions you have on teething? Let us know in the comments down below!