The first year of parenthood is a stressful endeavor, so we’re here to help. Here’s what new parents need to know about their children’s baby teeth, and how to care for toddler’s teeth.
When do Baby Teeth Arrive?
Your child’s first tooth will typically erupt between 6 and 12 months, although it is common to occur earlier. Usually, the two bottom front teeth – the central incisors – erupt first, followed by four upper front teeth – called the central and lateral incisors. Your child should have their first full set of teeth by their third birthday.
How to Care for Their First Tooth
After their teeth arrive, it is time to care for them like any other teeth! You want to gently clean your baby’s gums by using a clean cloth that has been dampened with cool water. You can use a rice-grain amount of toothpaste to clean your child’s first tooth. Rinse out their mouth with cool water, and try to prevent them from swallowing toothpaste. As more teeth erupt, you can purchase a toothbrush made for toddlers that will have very soft bristles, and fit their mouth. When brushing their teeth, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always rinse with cool water.
Teething Pain is Common
Teething pain is an unfortunate, but common side effect of teething. It is completely normal for your child to be fussy, have trouble sleeping, drool more than normal, and they may be more irritable overall. Your child may experience a slight loss of appetite, but you can help them eat by giving them soft healthy foods.
Use a Cold Compress – NOT Numbing Gels or Teething Tablets
Teething pain is hard on babies, and parents will do anything they can to soothe their child’s pain. A great way to ease your child’s pain is by gently rubbing their gums with a clean finger, or a cool moist gauze pad. You can also use “teethers” made of solid rubber, but always avoid teething aides filled with liquid or gel.
Do not but homeopathic teething tablets, gels or gel rings for your children. The Food and Drug Administration does not evaluate such products, and advises parents to stay away.
Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
It’s important to keep an eye out or baby bottle tooth decay as your child’s teeth arrive. At-will breastfeeding should be avoided after the first primary tooth erupts, and their diet diversifies. Be certain to never send your child to bed with a bottle. Milk has incredibly high sugar content, and that can fuel cavity-causing bacteria when left on teeth. If you send your baby to bed with a bottle, use only water, which will help keep their mouth and teeth clean.
Establish a Dental Home by Their First Birthday
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents establish a dental home for their child by their first birthday. This will help you introduce them to oral care in a relaxed first meeting, and will put them on the right path to a healthy smile. Don’t have a dental home yet? Use our pediatric dental locator tool to find your family’s dental home today!