Baby Teeth and Adult Teeth
Tooth development is a major milestone for children. First, it’s the baby teeth, also commonly referred to as the primary teeth. Later, the baby teeth eventually begin to fall out and are replaced by permanent adult teeth. At Puget Sound Pediatric Dentistry we can help you, and your child, to properly care for both sets of their teeth so that they grow up with good oral hygiene habits and a healthy mouth.
When Do the Baby Teeth First Appear?
The very first baby tooth generally appears around 6 months of age. Some babies can get their first tooth earlier. Others may not get their first tooth until later. There are some babies who do not get their first tooth until after their first birthday. Regardless of when the first baby tooth comes in, your child should be seen for their very first dental checkup by the time they turn 1.
The Eruption of the Baby Teeth
Your child will develop a total of 20 baby teeth, which are all present in the jawbone when they are born. These teeth do not all erupt at once. Instead, they erupt gradually over the course of the first 3 years of life. The exact times at which the baby teeth do erupt varies from child to child. In general, however, your child will have all of their baby teeth by the time they turn 3.
Why are the Baby Teeth Important?
Many parents are confused as to the importance of their child’s baby teeth. After all, the teeth only eventually fall out. While it is true that the baby teeth do fall out, they play numerous important roles in your child’s mouth. First, they function to help your child eat all kinds of different foods. They help your child to develop proper speech patterns as they learn how to talk. There’s no getting around that a grin full of baby teeth is adorable. Moreover, one of the most important roles of the baby teeth that many parents are unaware of is that they act as space holders. They hold the spaces in your child’s jaw to ensure that the adult teeth developing in the jaw will be able to erupt properly.
Dealing with Teething
As the baby teeth erupt, your child may experience some discomfort. You may notice that your child becomes fussy. Erupting teeth can be painful. Fortunately, the pain goes away after the tooth has erupted, but it can be hard to watch your child deal with this discomfort every time a new tooth is in the process of erupting. There are things that you can do to help deal with teething pain. A cool, damp washcloth to gnaw on can help to numb and massage the tissue. A textured teething ring can also be helpful.
At What Age Do the Adult Teeth Start Coming In?
The first baby teeth begin to fall out around the age of 6. Shortly after the baby tooth falls out, an adult tooth grows in its place. This process continues gradually until around the age of 12 or 13. By the age of 13, your child has gotten 28 teeth. The wisdom teeth, which are problematic for many people, do not come in until around the ages of 17 and 21.
Caring for your Child’s Teeth
Your child’s teeth, both baby and adult, require proper care. Before your child gets any teeth, you can start practicing good oral hygiene by using a damp washcloth to clean the gums. Once the first tooth comes in, it is time to switch to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. A tiny smear of toothpaste is all that is needed. Clean your child’s baby teeth daily. Use a rice-sized amount of toothpaste until the age of 3. After three, you can use a pea-sized amount.
As your child grows, teach them how to brush their teeth on their own. You can begin to let them brush their teeth on their own, but make sure that you come in behind them to get the spots they miss. Teach your child good habits, including twice daily brushing and daily flossing. By the age of 5, your child should be able to brush their teeth on their own, but make sure that you continue to monitor them for a few more years. Working with your child from an early age will help to ensure good oral health and will help your child to have good oral care habits as they get older.
For more information on the development of your child’s teeth, or to schedule a dental appointment or your child, contact Puget Sound Pediatric Dentistry at 360-659-8100, 360-863-8700, 425-367-4149, 360-339-8000 today.