Having a baby is such an exciting time! And baby’s first year is full of surprises and precious moments. Baby’s first tooth is definitely one of those moments but you don’t want to get lost in the excitement without knowing important facts about that first tooth.
When will baby begin to develop teeth?
Every baby is different but most babies will develop teeth between the ages of 6 and 12 months. However, it is not unusual for a baby to have no teeth on their first birthday. Around three months, there will be increased sensitivity and curiosity around the mouth – baby will have increased saliva, stick fingers in his mouth, etc., and this is all perfectly normal. Usually the first teeth to appear are the lower front teeth and most children will have all of their baby teeth in by age 3.
What should I do when my baby starts teething to ease the pain?
There is much disagreement about the amount of discomfort that a baby experiences when teething. Some doctors claim that there isn’t much discomfort, yet any parent who’s experienced a teething baby will disagree. Regardless, if baby does begin to show any sign of discomfort, try massaging their gums with clean fingers. Solid frozen teething rings can provide some relief as well. If the pain becomes severe, talk to your pediatrician about an age-appropriate dose of Tylenol or Motrin to relieve any fever or pain.
Avoid using products that are marketed for teething pain that contain benzocaine or belladonna. The FDA has issued warnings for both due to potential side effects. And homeopathic teething necklaces, such as amber necklaces, are not recommended because of potential choking hazards as well as a lack of evidence to support their effectiveness.
When should I begin to add fluoride to my child’s dental routine?
Fluoride is an important part of a healthy dental care routine. It prevents tooth decay and strengthens tooth enamel. Since fluoride is routinely added to tap water, giving your baby sips of water when solid foods are added is the perfect way to add fluoride safely. Always consult with your pediatrician about whether or not your baby may need supplements.
How often should I brush my child’s teeth each day?
Once you see your child’s first tooth, start brushing twice a day gently with a touch of fluoride toothpaste. It’s best to do this after the last food or drink of the day. It’s not a good idea to put baby to bed with a bottle because the lingering liquid in baby’s mouth can lead to tooth decay.
It is recommended that you put the toothpaste on the toothbrush for your child until age 6 and then monitor until around age 8.
When should I make my baby’s first dentist appointment?
It’s always a good idea to consult with your pediatrician about your baby’s health, including your baby’s teeth and gums. Once your child’s first tooth appears, ask your pediatrician about pediatric dentists and make your baby’s first dentist appointment. The dentist can check your baby’s dental health and apply fluoride varnish to help prevent tooth decay. It is recommended that all children establish with a pediatric dentist by age one for continuity in care.