Everything You Need To Know About Caring For Your Child’s Baby Teeth

Caring for baby teeth helps set the foundation for life-long good oral hygiene. Throughout a child’s development, there are important ways to make sure their teeth are being properly taken care of.
Healthy teeth can start in the womb! Because teeth start developing in babies’ mouths before they are even born, there are ways to kickstart healthy growth as early as pregnancy. According to Stanford Children’s Health, a pregnant mother’s diet should consist of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin D to promote her baby’s tooth and bone growth.
A baby’s first tooth typically erupts when they are 6-12 months and is usually a front tooth on the lower jaw (called the central incisor). There are a total of 20 primary (baby) teeth. Most baby teeth will erupt by 33 months, however every child has a different timeline and can develop at different rates.
As your baby’s teeth start to grow, they may experience some normal symptoms of teething including irritability, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite and drooling more than usual. Abnormal symptoms, however, include fever, diarrhea and rashes (American Dental Association). If any abnormal symptoms arise or if normal symptoms persist for extended periods of time, contact your pediatrician.
One way to soothe a teething baby is to gently rub their gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad. Your child can also chew on teethers, but the American Dental Association recommends using teethers made of solid rubber and to avoid liquid-filled teething rings or anything made of plastic that may break. As always, consult your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.
It is important to start oral care a few days after the birth of your baby. Begin by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. Start brushing as soon as the first tooth emerges using a child-sized toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in an amount no bigger than a grain of rice. Brush the teeth twice per day (in the morning and at night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Once the child is 3 years old, you may begin using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste. Supervise your child while they brush their teeth until you are comfortable with them brushing on their own.
Most children will begin losing his or her primary teeth around the age of 6 and will typically lose the last primary tooth around the age of 12. From there, most will develop 32 adult teeth (including wisdom teeth). Caring for baby teeth will lead to a healthier mouth down the road, so your child’s adult teeth are getting a great head start by focusing on their baby teeth now!

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