What are baby teeth? As defined in the dictionary, baby teeth, otherwise known as milk teeth, primary teeth, or deciduous teeth, are the first teeth in human growth and development. Parents celebrate this developmental milestone with excitement.
Taking care of baby teeth is the starting point of good dental hygiene. If a parent failed to start good dental care when children are still young, bad habits could go on until they are old. We are here to tell you all the things you need about baby teeth.
Importance of Baby Teeth
It is a crucial component of development as it helps the baby speak, chew, and smile. Baby teeth hold the space in the jaw that makes room for the permanent teeth to grow under the gums. If these fall off too early due to cavities, the permanent teeth under them can drift into that free space. When this happens, it would be hard for other permanent ones to look for their space when they erupt. And the result? Crowded and crooked teeth.
Though these baby teeth fall out eventually, know that they play an essential role in honing the space for the adult teeth to come out.
Teething, Eruption, and Falling Out
When do babies start teething? Parents often as this question. Teething is the process when baby teeth begin to emerge through the gums. Teething usually starts between 4 to 7 months, and you would notice swollen gums with increased drooling, crying, and fussiness. There could also be an elevated temperature but not enough to consider the baby sick. Babies also exhibit an eagerness to bring their hands into their mouths and to chew on hard objects. Though these are normal discomforts for babies, if the fever is high and there is vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding gums, or swollen face, it is best to call the pediatrician for a better assessment.
The total count of baby teeth is 20. The first to appear are the lower central incisors or the bottom’s front teeth, which generally erupts between 6 to 10 months. However, do not worry if your child is still toothless after this timeline. Tooth eruption varies in children. Some celebrated their first birthday toothless.
Most children usually have a complete set of baby teeth when they reach three years old, while they start falling out by six years old. First to fall off are the ones that came out first – lower central incisor while second molars are the last.
Helping Baby with Teething Pain
Seeing the baby’s discomfort is heartbreaking for parents. What you may do is offer clean cold items to chew like a teething ring, washcloth, or gauze. You may also massage it with your fingers. Just make sure your fingers are clean. You may also offer teething biscuits, but we advise you to watch chunks as this might cause choking. Also, most teething biscuits are not nutritious; thus, if you choose to offer them, make sure this is not common.
You should avoid teething products with Belladonna and Benzocaine because of potential risks and side effects. Professionals also advise against teething necklaces due to choking hazards.
Common Habits to Avoid
Sucking is normal for infants as this gives a sense of comfort and some emotional security. However, if thumb sucking goes beyond five years old or when the permanent teeth begin to come out, there is a risk of dental problems. By sucking, it can cause misalignment, which can cause them to protrude and lead to an overbite. With this, the pronunciation of words may be affected.
Like with thumb sucking, pacifiers can interfere with jaw and tooth development. Using a pacifier should be stopped at the age of 1.
Nighttime Bottle Feeding
When a child eats at night, he can fall asleep without cleaning his mouth. Milk contains sugar, and when sugar stays on the teeth for a long time, it can make the enamel weak.
Nail-biting is not only bad for the nails but also for dental health. When a child bites his nails, there is an increased risk for Bruxism or unintentional teeth grinding. Teeth grinding can then cause sensitive teeth and facial pain.
Caring for Gums and Teeth
Even though there is no single tooth yet, parents can start caring for the gums to get rid of bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria, as we know, can cause plaque which then damages the teeth. How do you care for their gums? Use a soft gauze or a piece of cloth and wipe the gums at least twice a day, particularly after feeding and before bedtime.
When the first tooth comes out, this calls for the first dental visit. Many parents do not do this as they wonder what the dentist would do with that tiny tooth. The purpose of the first dental visit is to check the overall oral health, which will be the baseline later. It gives the parent advice on how to brush baby teeth properly and taking care of them at home. It establishes dental habits which could benefit the child in the long run.
As a parent, you choose when to start good dental hygiene at home and establish an excellent dental relationship. Neglecting dental visits early on can lead to more significant problems when they grow up. When a dentist starts caring for your child’s teeth at the onset, you may prevent dental issues.
If you are yet to find the best dentists, look no further with us at Sunrise Dentistry. Our holistic dentist in Durango, Co, can take care of your whole family’s dental needs. We see that all of our patients, especially the children, are comfortable and will have a rewarding experience with us. Our goal is to encourage dental care early on. Thus, we initiate steps to take away children’s fear of the dentist. Let us take care of these baby teeth and ensure that permanent ones will grow healthy. Visit our website to learn more about our services, and give us a call anytime!