15 Jan What should I know about my baby’s new teeth?
When your child’s teeth appear you probably reach out for your camera to capture their adorable smiles. Baby teeth are cute like little, white pearls! They not only help your child chew, smile, and speak clearly but also give the face it’s form. They also hold space in the jawbone for the adult teeth that come in later. But did you know that teeth start developing while a baby is still in the womb?
Food rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamins C, and D are highly recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers as these nutrients are important for a kid’s dental development. The basic structure of the tooth forms when the fetus is only 6 weeks old. By the third or fourth month of pregnancy hard tissue starts forming around the fetus’ teeth. But teeth erupt from the gums some months after birth. Girls tend to teeth earlier than boys.
Baby teeth begin to come in between the ages of 6 and 12 months and most will have erupted by 33 months of age. Here is the typical order of dental eruption:
- The two front teeth at the bottom followed by the two front top teeth (central incisors) come in between the ages of 5 and 12 months.
- Four lateral incisors of the upper and lower jaw appear next between the ages of 8 to 13 months.
- The four first molars follow.
- Canines i.e., sharp, pointy teeth next to incisors then erupt.
- Around the age of 2 the four second molars appear.
By the age of 3, a child typically has all 20 primary teeth. Baby teeth are slightly spaced to allow for larger, permanent teeth. The order of eruption may be slightly different for all kids and sometimes does not warrant any alarm. Pay attention to the following changes and visit a pediatric dentist to address these concerns:
- Baby teeth do not appear by 1 year of age.
- Teeth start appearing blue/gray/black. This may be a sign of tooth decay.
- Teeth emerge crooked or crowded.
- Unusually small, discolored, pitted or grooved teeth.
- Brittle teeth.
- Baby teeth fall out prematurely or permanent teeth do not pop in on time.
Children usually start losing their baby teeth by the age of 6. As each tooth loosens and sheds, it is replaced by a permanent tooth. The last baby tooth is usually lost around the age of 12. By the time your child is 21 years old they will have a total of up to 32 permanent, or adult teeth.
It is good practice to begin a proper dental care routine even before your kid’s first tooth comes in. Wipe your baby’s gums daily with a clean, damp, soft cloth or gauze (no toothpaste) to get rid of milk and food residues in the mouth. As soon as the first tooth comes in, brush it and the gums with water and fluoridated toothpaste , using a soft toothbrush. Be sure to visit with a pediatric dentist by your child’s first birthday, or within 6 months after the first tooth appears, to identify and resolve any dental issues and seek advice on preventive care. If you’re in the Allen, Texas area, call 972-727-0011 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lisi or Dr. Alina at Allen Pediatric Dentistry.
Fig 1. Baby Teeth Eruption Chart (from American Dental Association webpage)