Birth to 2 Years
It may seem like there is nothing to worry about when your baby’s first tooth appears. However, from the moment that tooth erupts, proper dental care is important in order to keep your child’s mouth healthy and free of cavities. Establishing healthy oral hygiene habits early in a child’s development is critical in forming a lifelong commitment to maintaining good oral health.
Teeth erupt on a fairly consistent schedule for most infants. The front teeth, or incisors, usually erupt between 6 – 12 months of age. The lower incisors erupt between 6 – 10 months, and the uppers between 8 – 12 months. The next teeth to come in are called the lateral incisors, and they erupt between 10 – 16 months on the bottom and 9 – 13 months on the top.
Canines or cuspids, also called eye-teeth, follow the incisors. They usually appear at 17 – 23 months on the lower arch and 16 – 22 months on the upper arch. The first molars will appear around 13 – 19 months, with those on the top erupting first.
The schedule for erupting teeth is an average estimate. All children are unique, and yours may not follow this schedule exactly. Eruption of teeth is generally symmetrical, with the teeth on either side erupting at the same time. By the age of two and a half, all of your child’s primary teeth should erupt.
Dental Care for Young Children
Teething can cause the gums to become red and swollen, and you may notice your baby becoming irritable. You can ease the symptoms of teething with a cool teething ring or cold wet washcloth. Massaging the gums with something cool can help soothe the discomfort. The first tooth usually erupts between four to six months, following teething.
Clean your baby’s gums with a damp washcloth after feeding. When teeth begin to erupt, you should clean them twice a day. Avoid letting your baby sleep with a bottle unless it contains pure water. Any juice or milk, even breast milk, can cause tooth decay. Milk and juice contain sugars that when left on teeth for long periods of time will eventually begin the process that causes tooth decay.
Use a soft toothbrush to clean the teeth. A dab of toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice, is enough to keep the teeth clean and healthy. Cleaning your child’s teeth after the last meal or drink of the day is best to prevent tooth decay.
Be sure to follow up your home dental care with regular checkups at the dental office. Make an appointment with The Pediatric Dental Team for excellent child-centered oral care.