When you become a parent, nothing can prepare you for the excitement, love (and let’s not forget the exhaustion that comes along with it).
Bringing home baby is a lot of hard work… there are schedules, feedings and diaper changes. It’s a round-the-clock routine and when you’re sleep deprived it can be overwhelming.
But all of that is completely forgotten the first time you see your new little one smile.
And while it’s a toothless grin, there are baby teeth that you can’t see, just waiting to make their appearance in a few short months.
Your baby’s first teeth can appear as early as 3-4 months of age, but they really start to erupt through the gums between the ages of 6 months to one year of age. All of the 20 primary teeth (baby teeth) will usually erupt by the age of three and even though they will eventually fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth, baby teeth are important.
They not only help kids chew food properly and speak clearly, but they hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums.
You can set the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
You may think that just because you can’t see your baby’s teeth, there is nothing you can do to care for them. Think again. Make sure you do the following when caring for those tiny teeth:
Do: Make a routine of wiping your baby’s gums with a damp washcloth after meals starting when they are just a few weeks old. This will start to establish a routine they can get used to.
Do: Start brushing when the first tooth appears. Use your finger or a very soft brush to gently brush. Toothpaste should be limited to a very small amount (no bigger than the size of a grain of rice).
Do: Kiss them goodnight and put them to bed — without a bottle. Baby bottle tooth decay happens when sweetened liquid, juice, milk, or formula stay in the mouth for a long period of time, such as when a baby sucks on a bottle before sleeping.
Do: Offer drinks from a cup as soon as your child is ready. This is usually by his or her first birthday.
Do: Schedule your child for their first dental visit no later than their first birthday. Your dentist can start your child on a lasting program of dental care.
Dr. Mike Mavrostomos is passionate about providing top-quality, comprehensive dental care. He is located in Bedminster, NJ whose continual pursuit of education and state-of-the-art dentistry has led to his being recognized as one of New Jersey’s Top Dentists by the New Jersey Top-Docs committee.