Even though baby teeth are inevitably going to fall out somewhere between the ages of 6-18, they still play a fundamental role while they’re around. Those little chompers are doing some pretty hard work, even if it’s just for a short amount of time. The most important thing they’re doing is setting the tone for how the adult teeth are going to come into this world. So some pretty important foundation is being laid in the mouth in those early years.
When it comes to natal dental care, there are many things to be aware of. As any toddler teething will tell you, it isn’t all fun and games. As exciting as it is when baby gets that first tooth, it also means being switched on to ensuring you take proper care of it. In fact, dental care starts well before that first tooth even arrives.
Babies are actually born with a full set of teeth lingering under their gums. This means that from day one you need to be aware that these little chompers are going to make their grand appearance and they are gearing up for it. There are plenty of things you can do in those first 6-12 months before they pop through the surface to ensure the mouth is hospitable.
Think about all the things teeth are used for. Eating, smiling, talking, laughing. These are all the things your baby’s first set of teeth are getting ready for. So to give your baby the brightest smile, get on top of what you need to know about newborn dental care.
15 Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Is A Thing
Even from day one tooth decay is a worry. Even when there are no teeth, as crazy as that sounds. Basically, tooth decay prevention starts very early on and in some pretty basic steps. For the first 6 months, breast milk is really the only thing that babies need. Whether this comes from the natural source or is pumped into a bottle doesn’t matter too much. But this should be the only thing hitting baby’s mouth.
When breast milk or formula is consumed out of a bottle, it is really important that you don’t put baby to bed with the bottle. This milk is actually quite high in sugars, which are natural sugars but bad for teeth in excess nonetheless. Giving your baby the chance to soak their teeth in sugars all night long just isn’t the best idea. As there is less saliva produced overnight to wash the milk away, this would be setting your baby up for tooth decay from early on in life, before all the teeth are popping through to the surface.
14 Babies Aren’t Actually Toothless At Birth
Just because the teeth aren’t visible yet doesn’t mean they’re not there. Hidden under the gums, having developed in utero, are a full set of 20 teeth. Babies come out with 10 teeth on the top gum and 10 on the bottom, chilling under the surface until they’re ready to erupt.
From time to time babies are born with a tooth. This is pretty jarring and a little out of the blue. Just when you were expecting a toothless bundle of joy to come, little one already has a little chomper! Obviously, if this is the case for your little one, go see a dentist straight away. They’ll know what to do with the tooth and assess if it loose. Maybe babies coming out with a tooth ready to go are just getting one step ahead of everything. But really, for those first moments breastfeeding, keep the teeth under the gums, please!
13 Teething Can Cause Fevers
We’ve already said and probably don’t need to say it again, but teething isn’t all fun and games. Most of us don’t remember teething so it is hard to relate to, but just like the idea of hard teeth breaking through the gum surface to any experience at the dentist and there is no need to say anything more.
When babies start teething, they can get very sore gums which cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Generally, this pain will lead to crankiness, some moodiness, and excess dribbling. But there are cases where it can get worse and cause a fever to occur.
Teething shouldn’t make a baby sick, so if signs of a fever do occur and stay around for more than 6 hours, consult your doctor. Teething can also be a problem as it makes babies want to eat less in some cases which can lead to problems digesting food. Any baby that gets sick from teething should see a doctor.
12 Teeth Need Immediate Brushing
Pretty much, as soon as that first tooth comes through, jump on it and start brushing straight away. Brushing teeth is not only fundamental for dental care, but also an important habit to get into straight away. So the younger one starts the better, and sets up babies for a lifelong positive habit.
For babies who get their first tooth, obviously a different level of brushing is required. Now isn’t the time to invest in a hard-core electric toothbrush. Rather, a small, soft bristled toothbrush specifically designed for babies is the way to go. Some baby formulated toothpaste, ideally with fluoride, should also be invested in.
As for actually brushing that one little tooth, you’ll only need a tiny bit of toothpaste. It will be a strange motion for baby at first and might result in some tears, but soothingly talking your baby through the process will help them feel safe and comfortable with having their teeth brushed. Again, the earlier you start on this the better so that only positive things are associated with brushing teeth.
11 Drooling Is Good For Teeth
Every one loves a bit of newborn baby slobber while they’re having a loving cuddle with the little bundle of joy. Turns out, the teeth love some drool as well. Saliva is really useful for teeth, especially for little natal teeth.
Humans produce saliva as a self cleansing method for the mouth. This is basically how the mouth filters things out and ensures nasties aren’t getting left behind. Saliva is also really important to swallowing and sucking, which babies do a lot of. Later in life, saliva becomes crucial for speech and jaw movements associated with producing words.
When babies drool and produce excess saliva, they are creating a good environment in the mouth for teeth to come into. By keeping the gum line moist and clean, saliva is encouraging the teeth to break through the surface. Just keep that in mind next time you’re wiping baby drool off your shoulder!
10 Teeth Start Appearing Around Six Months Old
Although babies are born with a set of 20 teeth, these are hidden under the gum line. There are 10 teeth on the bottom gum and 10 on the top. These start developing in the womb, and continue hardening and strengthening once the baby is born.
There is no specific time that the first tooth will appear and there certainly isn’t any way to predict it. Most babies will get their first tooth around 6-12 months and others coming in after the first around this time. In some cases, babies have gotten the first tooth at 3 months of age. It totally depends on the baby and there is no right or wrong time to start getting teeth.
By around 3 years old, children will have their full set of baby teeth. Again, this is a benchmark age. Babies' teeth really just develop in their own time. It isn’t a process you can speed up or pressure along, rather one that you can just deal with when they appear.
9 Natural Remedies Are Good For Teething Problems
When it comes to teething, some inevitable discomfort and frustration is going to happen on the baby’s end. This is fair enough, considering some sharp pointers are breaking through the soft gum lining. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural remedies that can be done to help sooth some of this discomfort.
Investing in a teething ring is a good place to start. These are made of soft material and big enough so that no choking dangers come with it. If you can get a teething ring that you can put liquid in and cool it in the fridge, even better. Just stick to natural drinks such as formula, breast milk, or water rather than anything sugary or sweet. The sucking motion of having this ring in the mouth calms the baby and distracts from the pain. Using a natural numbing gel on the gum line can also help, but chat with a doctor or public health nurse to see what is best recommended for babies.
8 Fluoride Is Good At A Young Age
There is plenty of scientific research out there that let’s us know how good fluoride is for the teeth. For babies, fluoride is recommended and safe, unless a specific circumstance or reason suggests otherwise. A proper amount of fluoride from infancy helps to prevent tooth decay later on in life. Fluoride basically helps to strengthen teeth and reduce the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and tooth loss in permanent teeth.
There are many ways you can get fluoride into your baby’s life, aside from a fluoride based toothpaste. Using fluoridated water when transitioning off breast feeding is a good idea. However, breast feeding is the best and most natural way. The more fluoride you have in your system, the more is going to be passed on to baby to create healthy, and strong teeth. Therefore, ensuring you are using a good quality fluoride toothpaste will be helpful for your baby, too.
7 First Tooth Means First Dentist Visit
Getting baby’s health checked up on by a professional is really crucial for all different reasons. From scheduling natal doctor visits to seeking advice from public health nurses along the way, it is always helpful for mom to have a second opinion from someone who is impartial and well educated. This goes for teeth, too.
While teeth seem pretty self-explanatory, as in they appear and they grow and they fall out and are replaced by adult teeth, there is a lot more going on under the surface (literally under the gum surface) that parents don’t really know about. This is why taking baby to the dentist after that first tooth appears is not going to lead you astray.
Just getting that second opinion that things are looking healthy and well in the mouth can be a big reassurance. If there are any potential issues with crooked teeth, dentists can get on this straight away. Dentists can also recommend ways on dealing with teething and preventing tooth decay in a way you can relate to.
6 There Are Baby Toothbrushes Out There For A Reason
The main reason is that they are really useful and important for newborns’ teeth and should be invested in! Baby toothbrushes for under 2 year olds are specifically designed to have small, soft bristles that are gentle on the teeth. They are ideal for introducing kids to positive dental habits early on in life.
Even before all the teeth are out and about from the gum line, you can introduce your baby to brushing their teeth. Whether you choose to use some toothpaste or just water is up to you and can be decided in consultation with the dentist. But from the age of 6 months you can get your baby brushing and scrubbing their little chompers.
Getting kids used to the brushing motion and sensation is just as important as actually cleaning the teeth. It is important to create a good routine to avoid brushing teeth temper tantrums later on. Having some fun music playing while brushing or a colourful and fun toothbrush will establish positive associations.
5 Mom Influences The Teeth In The Womb
So most women already realise that what they eat, drink, and do on a daily basis influences how the baby is growing in the womb and has negative or positive impacts as a result. Well, this even goes as far as impacting on how baby's teeth develop in the womb.
Basically, the diet of an expectant mom nourishes and feeds the baby. It provides things such as calcium and phosphorus as well as a wide range of vitamins and minerals which are all crucial to healthy teeth development. Babies need all these good things for their teeth to start forming. And the teeth forming process actually begins just a month after conception!
So a pregnancy diet that is high in calcium and low in sugar is a good starting point. Mothers who consume excess sugar during pregnancy leave their babies at higher risk of tooth decay and other periodontal diseases. You literally are setting baby up for everything in life from the moment of conception!
4 Teeth Are A Major Causality Of Gravity
Right around the time that babies are starting to find their gross motor skills and get those little legs working, more and more teeth are making their way through the surface of the gums. These are great development milestones, but it is somewhat unfortunate that they have to happen at the same time.
Realistically, as soon as babies start standing and walking, they also start falling. It is a natural developmental result. Unfortunately for the teeth, they are right in the firing line of these gravitational mishaps. There is nothing pleasant about a toddler face planting on the pavement, and nothing at all pleasant for the teeth.
If any injuries do occur to your baby's or toddler's teeth due to a fall, you should get it checked out by a professional straight away. Some things that can happen include bleeding gums, tooth damage, or causing the tooth to wedge back into the gum.
3 There Is An Order To How Teeth Appear
Most things about human development happen in quite an orderly fashion, and the teeth are really all over this. This makes it easier so that all the teeth aren’t pushing and shoving their way to the front of the queue to be first out of the gum lining. That just doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
Babies are born with 20 teeth under their gums. The lower central incisors are the first to make an appearance at around 4-7 months These are the two bottom teeth. The top front teeth, or the upper central incisors come out around 8-12 months to make that bunny rabbit look happen. Then around 9-13 months the upper lateral incisors, the two teeth on either side of the two front teeth, come out. Finally at 10 to 16 months the lower lateral incisors means your baby can flash a toothy smile with 4 teeth on the top and bottom row.
The upper molars come out around 13 to 19 months but they are stuck in limbo until the lower molars join at 14 to 18 months. This is when toddlers can really get chewing and chomping and finding out what this food business is all about.
2 Babies Are Sweet Enough Already
There is nothing sweeter than a newborn baby. From the smell to the soft skin, everything is just so sweet. So why add any sweeteners to the diet when the teeth are already encompassed by sweetness around the clock.
Babies aren’t actually born with a sweet tooth. In fact, babies enjoy home made food without any sugar for quite a while. Avoiding baby foods with sugar for as long as possible will help establish a healthy relationship between food taste and less sugar.
Sugary foods and juices or drinks put young babies at high risk of tooth decay. And they simply don’t need sugar at this age. The same goes for adding honey or sweeteners to pacifiers. It is really unnecessary and not worth the immediate peace and quiet it brings. Letting a baby suck at something covered in sugar and have the sugar floating and dissolving in the mouth for hours is a dental nightmare just waiting to happen.
1 Crooked Teeth Normally Straighten In Their Own Time
Sometimes a baby will get their first tooth and the first tooth will be a little crooked. Obviously, panic and worry ensues from the parents. Most of the time, this panic is a little unwarranted, although valid, for crooked teeth will straighten out in their own time. As long as the tooth is healthy and well formed, there isn’t too much to worry about.
Crooked teeth tend to occur mostly due to overcrowding. When teeth are too close together, it can lead to higher risk of cavities as the saliva isn’t able to clean between the teeth as effectively. However, you can’t really tell if teeth are going to be overcrowded or crooked based on the first tooth coming in on a slight angle. Once all the baby teeth have made their way from the surface and some are still coming in crooked, it is the best time to consult the dentist and get their professional opinion.
Sources: Dentalhealth.ie, Babycenter.com, Raisingchildren.net.au, Northshoremama.ca