Baby's First Teeth

The 20 (primary) teeth your baby has at birth play a crucial role. Normally the front four teeth will appear, or erupt as we call it, within six months to one year. The late blooming other teeth will continue to appear as your baby approaches age three. The primary teeth teach your baby to chew, speak properly and create space in the jaw for their later permanent teeth.

As your child grows, the permanent teeth begin to push upward, removing the primary teeth in their way. The permanent tooth takes the place of the earlier primary tooth, giving them a full smile. At times, children can lose their primary tooth before the permanent is ready to take its place. If this happens, contact us immediately. The teeth on either side could begin to move into the empty space, limiting the place for the permanent tooth. This can crowd the teeth out of alignment. Depending on the situation, a space maintainer can hold the space and avoid any future issues. During these times, it is important to be in contact with us. Proper maintenance prevents many issues at a younger age.

Dentists are now recommending fluoride toothpaste as soon as a baby's first tooth comes in. In prior years, the American Dental Association (ADA) had recommended kids younger than 2 years old have their teeth brushed with water, before moving onto a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste through the time they're 6 years old.

It is notable that approximately 25% of children have or had cavities before entering kindergarten, so it's important to provide instruction to caregivers on the appropriate use of fluoride toothpaste to help prevent their children from developing cavities.

This new ADA recommendation comes after a new review published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association found that brushing with fluoride toothpaste had statistically significant benefits on preventing decay and cavities. They did find some evidence ingesting pea-sized amounts can lead to a condition called dental fluorosis in some kids, which is when staining or changes in the color of the tooth's enamel occurs when children age eight and younger consume too much fluoride.

The new guidelines suggest children younger than three should just get a "smear" of toothpaste before graduating to a pea-sized amount at age three years old to prevent cavities and avoid fluorosis. Children should spit out the toothpaste as soon as they are old enough to do so.

Proper child mouth care has a huge impact on American families. More than 16 million U.S. kids have untreated tooth decay, the ADA says, causing them and their parents to miss millions of hours of school and work cumulatively. A 2012 report from the New York Times found upticks in rates of preschool-aged children coming to dentists with multiple cavities, sometimes more than 15 at a time.


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