Baby teeth (also called primary teeth) prepare your baby’s mouth for when their permanent teeth come through. Whilst baby teeth are great for sweet smiles and cuteness, they actually have other important functions.
Firstly, they assist your baby with chewing and eating. During the chewing process, food is broken down into small pieces that are easily digested. Additionally, they are also necessary for your child to learn how to speak. When primary teeth are healthy, well-spaced and aligned, your child is able to form words and speak clearly. They serve as placeholders for permanent teeth and help guide them into place as they start growing through.
We all hope for good health and a lifetime of smiles for our children. And so, in this article, we’ll shed light on some important considerations and tips to keep your baby’s teeth healthy in order to help prevent harmful dental problems down the line.
Teething, also known as primary tooth eruption, is when your baby’s first set of teeth breaks through their gums. Teething usually starts around six months of age. However, it’s entirely normal for teething to start at any time between three to 12 months of age.
Baby teeth actually start forming prior to when they are born. Tooth buds begin growing during the second trimester. Once babies are born, the roots grow, and the teeth are pushed up until they break through the gums.
Most babies will have all their baby teeth, generally, that’s around 20 in total by the time they reach three years old.
Signs of Teething
Every baby experiences teething differently. Some babies have no symptoms, while others seem to experience tremendous pain. Some common teething symptoms your baby might experience include:
- Swelling or redness of gums
- Ear rubbing
- Facial rash
- Mild temperature
- Sucking or biting
If your little one is having a tough time during teething, there are some things you can try to help ease their discomfort and pain. Give them something to chew on, like a firm rubber teething ring or a cold washcloth that you’ve chilled in the refrigerator (not the freezer). Chewing supports this pain by relieving the pressure of the new teeth pressing up. You can also try gently rubbing your baby’s gums with a clean finger or a wet gauze pad. If your child is eating solids, offer chilled foods, like yogurt, mashed potato or cooked foods. Of course, make sure to give lots of extra snuggles and kisses to help reassure and distract them from the pain.
Baby Teeth and Cavities
Just like permanent teeth, baby teeth can develop cavities if not properly taken care of. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is a term used to describe the decay that develops when baby teeth have frequent and prolonged contact with too much sugar. It typically happens when babies are put to bed with a bottle, when a bottle is used as a pacifier, or if a baby uses a bottle or sippy cup for extended periods of time. Bacteria already in the mouth feed on the sugar, multiply and then produce acid as a waste product. This acid attacks the teeth and tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. To prevent baby bottle tooth decay, only put water, milk, or formula in baby bottles and take the bottle away while your child is sleeping.
Coolangatta Dental Group recommends that children make their first visit to the dentist before their first birthday or six months after their first tooth comes through. Get in touch with any of our three clinics today to schedule your baby’s first dental appointment! We can’t wait to see you!