The ABCD’s of Baby Teeth
Teeth are an important part of child development. While babies only have a liquid diet at first, they do need teeth to start eating solid foods, learning to talk, and even a form of self-defense. Knowing when they come in and how to take care of them is essential to protecting them. Everything you need to know about your baby’s teeth are as easy as A-B-C-D.
Baby teeth first appear between 4 and 8 months for most babies, but they are formed while the baby is still in the womb. Teeth emerge in a mostly consistent order, but there are always exceptions. The front teeth are first and don’t cause as much pain since they are sharp and thin. As the teeth get wider, breaking through the gum tissue becomes more painful.
There is a lot of bacteria in the mouth and the teeth are always in danger of decay. Once the teeth have erupted through the gums, you should begin cleaning them. While there are only one or two teeth, just use a clean washcloth to wipe the teeth clean. When there are more, start using a small, baby-sized tooth brush. Toothpaste isn’t necessary at first, especially ones with fluoride. It’s most important that you brush away bacteria and get your baby familiar with the process to prevent fighting as they get older.
Flossing isn’t necessary until the teeth start touching. This mostly commonly happens around two years old, but watch for it. Once the teeth touch, the brush no longer reaches every surface of the tooth and leaves bacteria lingering. Flossing also helps to keep the gums from swelling and becoming painful.
One of the most common health problems for babies is cavities and tooth decay. This comes from improper dental care. Other things that can cause decay are pacifiers, bottles, and thumb-sucking. These are not usually considered problems until the age of four, but they increase the number of bacteria into the mouth. This increases chances for damage, especially when combined with improper dental care. Another thing to watch for is shifting teeth. These objects can all push teeth out of place. Since teeth are always shifting and moving in the gums, this can cause a problem with teeth needing to come in.
D- Dental Visits
It is recommended that you bring your baby in for their first dental visit before they turn one. These visits usually consist of counting teeth, checking for cavities, and just introducing the baby to the office. It doesn’t involve any cleanings or x-rays, unless problems are spotted. An important part of keeping teeth healthy is coming in for a professional cleaning every six months, so starting this habit young sets your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth.
Don’t wait until your child has tooth problems to come in for an appointment. We would love to answer any questions you have about caring for your child’s teeth and making sure everything is developing as it should. Call our office to make an appointment today to make sure your child’s teeth stay healthy.