Your child’s teeth actually develop prior to their birth, and they are born with all 20 of their primary teeth below their gums. Between the ages of six and 12 months, your child’s teeth will begin to erupt through the gum line. By age three, most children have all their primary teeth. The first teeth to erupt are usually the very front teeth, followed by the teeth on either side and then the molars. Children typically loose their baby teeth in the same order in which they erupted, with the permanent teeth following the same pattern of eruption as the primary teeth. Permanent teeth begin to erupt around age 6.
Your child may have sore or tender gums when their teeth begin to erupt. You can alleviate your child’s discomfort by gently rubbing their gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon or a moist gauze pad. You may also want to look for a teether for your child to chew on – the best teethers to use are made of solid rubber. Do not use a teething ring or plastic object that is filled with liquid or could break. Double-check the teethers to make sure that they are made from safe materials. Do not use numbing gels or teething tablets, as many of these items contain toxic substances and may put your child at risk.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you bring your child to the dentist as soon as their teeth begin to erupt. While these early visits are primarily to help your child feel at ease in the dental office and allow us to monitor growth and development, they also give us the opportunity to provide you with information and instructions on how to care for your child’s new teeth in order to keep their mouth and smile healthy.
Prior to the teeth erupting, all children should have a daily oral cleaning. Use a soft, damp cloth to gently wipe your baby’s gums and remove any lingering formula or milk from their mouth. As soon as your child’s teeth begin to erupt, start brushing their teeth using a soft-bristle baby toothbrush. You may use a tiny smear of child-safe toothpaste. After the age of two, you can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Begin flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have two adjacent teeth.
Your child will need to have their teeth brushed at least twice a day, and flossed daily. You will need to brush and floss for your child until their motor skills develop enough for them to do it themselves (usually about age seven).
If you have any questions about caring for your child’s new teeth in New Milford, Connecticut, or to make an appointment with Dr. Glenn M. Wilson, please contact our office today at 860-354-3737.