Infant Oral Health
Everything you need to do know about when to first take your baby to the dentist, how to take care of their teeth and gums, and why you shouldn’t put your baby to bed with a bottle.
Infant Oral Health
Teeth begin forming in your baby even before birth. Here is when you can expect to begin seeing them:
• Central incisor (front two upper and bottom teeth): 6-12 months
• Lateral incisor(the two teeth flanking the upper and bottom front two teeth): 9-16 months
• Canines (eye teeth): 16-23 months • First molars (upper and bottom back teeth): 13-19 months
• Second molars (upper and bottom back teeth): 22-33 months
All 20 primary teeth — also called baby teeth — are present in the jawbones at birth. Do not be concerned if your baby is a little early or late. The numbers here are only an average. By age three, all 20 primary teeth should be present.
The discomfort of teeth coming into the mouth can cause your baby to become irritable. You can ease some of the discomfort by lightly rubbing the baby’s gums with a clean finger or a wet cloth. A cool (not ice cold) teething ring can also help to soothe your baby’s tender gums. When the first teeth appear, begin using a children’s soft-bristle toothbrush to clean them on a daily basis. Giving your baby regular oral cleanings after each meal instills good dental health habits early in life.
Once your baby’s teeth begin to appear, you need to take extra care that these new teeth do not develop cavities. One common way a baby can develop cavities is called “bottle rot,” which is caused by extended nursing on milk, formula or juices, especially at naptime,bedtime or throughout the night. You should not use a feeding bottle as a pacifier. If you must give your baby a bottle at bedtime or naptime, make sure it contains plain water. You should not give a baby a pacifier that has been dipped in honey or sugar.
Your baby’s first dental visit should be by one year of age or after their first tooth eruption, whichever comes first.