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A toddler brushing her teeth

Everything you need to know about your baby’s teeth

Your baby gets teeth and you are wondering what to do. Is it normal that the teeth erupt this early? At what age do you start brushing? When to go to the dentist?

Having a newborn in your life is a life-changing event which can be overwhelming. So many new things you have to think of and find out. Every time you get sort of a routine, things change and you feel like you have to start all over again. Hard times, but great times!

One of the events that changes a number of routines, is the eruption of your baby’s teeth. The pain your child experiences can keep her (and you) up at nights and often also turns daytime to cry time.

Having teeth does come with the great advantage of being able to bite of certain foods, and later on during development to genuine chewing and grinding. This also means the eating pattern of your baby will change and that you have to take care of those newly erupted teeth.

In this article, we will list the important steps you need to take to keep your baby’s teeth healthy.

At what age do your baby’s teeth start erupting?

The undeveloped teeth of your baby are already present in the jaws at time of birth, known as tooth buds.

Once the first teeth are developed, they start erupting by moving upwards through the gums and finally being exposed in your baby’s mouth.

Tooth eruption usually starts when your child is somewhere between 4 and 6 months of age but can start as soon as 2 to 3 months. The first teeth to erupt are usually located at the top and bottom front of their mouth.

Symptoms of tooth eruption

The eruption of the teeth through the gums can obviously cause a lot of discomfort for your baby. Your child can, therefore, be more easily upset while the teeth erupt, start drawling, have a lack of appetite and sleep, and likes to chew on things.

Diarrhea, rash or fever are not normal. If your baby experiences one of these symptoms or continues to be cranky or uncomfortable, something else might be going on and it is, therefore, advisable to contact your physician.

You can ease the symptoms of tooth eruption by gently rubbing the gums of your child with a clean finger or teething ring or a wet gauze pad. When using a teething ring, make sure to clean it regularly and preferably use one that can be sterilized by boiling. Regular boiling prevents the buildup of bacteria and fungi.

How many teeth does my baby get and in what order?

Baby teeth eruption chart

The first baby teeth start to appear around 4  months of age and by the time your child is 3 it will have all 20 primary teeth (adults have 32 permanent teeth).

As you can see in our eruption chart, the teeth usually erupt in a typical order. Starting at the front and moving (more or less) backward. First to appear are the four front and four lateral incisors, next are the four first molars, the four canines and finally the four  second molars.

When should you start to brush your baby’s teeth?

Taking care of your baby’s teeth is really important, even though they will change for permanent teeth later. The primary teeth act as a sort of anchors and hold the spots for the permanent teeth.

Your baby can also get cavities, just like we as adults. Most of us know that this can be painful, so taking care of your baby’s teeth is essential.

The way to do this is by brushing. You need to start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as the first teeth erupt. Use a special baby brush and apply toothpaste of about the size of a rice grain. Make sure to use special baby fluoride toothpaste! Fluoride can be harmful to children (and adults) at higher concentrations. Special baby toothpaste has a low fluoride concentration which is designed to be swallowed, something your child will definitely do.

Baby toothpaste also come in different flavors, which will help to get your baby be a bit more cooperative. You might find brushing your baby’s teeth to be difficult initially because your baby is unlikely to be cooperative right away.

Don’t make brushing your baby’s teeth a fight right away. Getting the toothbrush in is the first step. Maybe a couple of movements and that’s it. Expand from there, baby steps.

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It is also good to teach your child to open his/her mouth when you say “Aaah”. Don’t practice this only while brushing, make it a game during the day. You can also try to make brushing more fun by singing a song.

When you’re done with brushing your baby’s teeth, give her/him the brush while you change their clothes and diaper (never let a child walk or play with a toothbrush!). You’ll see that your child will chew on the brush head, which is good for the teeth and gums.

Avoid brushing within 30 minutes after eating or giving milk. The sugars and acids in foods can cause tooth erosion.

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To conclude

Taking care of your baby’s teeth should start as soon as they erupt. Try to make it fun and don’t make it a struggle right away. Baby’s require baby steps.

It is also wise to make a trip to the dentist after the first teeth have erupted in order to see whether you brush have been brushing properly. It is advisable to check whether your child is included in the insurance policy to prevent unnecessary costs.

A good start in oral hygiene lasts a lifetime.