Frequently Asked Questions about Baby's First Teeth
Thursday, October 16, 2014
When will my Baby’s Teeth Erupt, and how should I take care of these primary teeth?
Parents wondering how many teeth their children should have is a common question received at Pediatric Dental Center. We are going to fill-in those missing gaps, and answer your “toothy” questions.
Newborns are not born with pearly white smiles. When they start to smile, they have a very gummy grin. The crowns of the 20 primary teeth are almost completely formed, and are hidden from view below the gumline in the infant’s jawbone. It is important to wipe the baby’s gums with a wet washcloth or clean gauze pad after each feeding.
During the first 2½ years of life, the primary teeth gradually start to erupt. The upper and lower front teeth called the central incisors erupt first, and this begins as early as six months after birth. By the time children are three years old, most have a full set of primary teeth. A full set of primary teeth includes 20 teeth in all – 10 upper teeth and 10 lower teeth.
How can I ease the soreness caused by teething?
Once the teething process begins, the child may have sore or tender gums. Rubbing his or her gums with a cool clean wet washcloth may help ease the soreness. A sterile chilled teething ring may also help relieve the tenderness of the gums. If these tips do not work and your child is still uncomfortable while teething, consult your pediatrician.
It’s recommended to avoid gels or creams with benzocaine to sore gums in children younger than two years old. Benzocaine is a local anesthetic that has caused serious reactions in a small number of children. For more information, visit the Food and Drug Admnistration website at www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm306062.htm
Why do I have to take such care of my child’s primary teeth since they are temporary?
It is so important to take care of primary teeth because these teeth help children pronounce words correctly and chew their foods. In addition, primary teeth act as placeholders in the jaw for the arrival of the permanent teeth. Tooth decay can start to begin as soon as the teeth start to appear in the mouth. Left untreated, the decay can cause cavities, oral pain and destroy the teeth. This tooth decay can also damage the permanent teeth that are developing underneath the gumline.
How is this infection caused and what can I do to prevent it?
Tooth decay in babies is often caused by what is known as baby bottle tooth decay. It happens when a child’s teeth are frequently exposed to sugary liquids from a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices or sweetened liquid.
Even though primary teeth are temporary, they still require proper care that includes the following:
Daily brushing and flossing with water until the age of two years. Once the child learns to not swallow toothpaste, you can brush their teeth with fluoridated toothpaste.
Routine visits to the dentist.
Proper nutrition to remain strong and healthy.