Did you know, when your baby is born, they will have 20 little baby teeth already developing under the gums?
Having your first child can be both exciting and stressful, and it is natural to want to know what is normal and what isn’t. How can you give your little one the best start in life? Caring for their teeth and gums is no exception to this.
Caring for baby’s oral health starts from birth
Get in to the habit early. This can start even before the first tooth has erupted, by using a damp wash cloth to wipe the gums after feeding. This helps to remove bacteria (germs) from the mouth and gets your baby into the habit of “tooth cleaning time”
When will my baby start to get teeth?
Sometimes the lower front teeth are already through the gums at birth (known as “Natal Teeth”), but usually, these teeth will emerge within the first 6 months of age. Don’t be alarmed if they have not come through by exactly 6 months. Everyone is different and sometimes they can be a little delayed. If you are worried, the best thing to do is check with your dentist. Most children’s baby teeth will all be erupted into the mouth by the time they are 3.
Teething: What’s normal, what’s not?
Fussiness, drooling, difficulty sleeping, being irritable and loss of appetite are all normal signs of teething.
Fever, diarrhea and rash are not. Speak with your Dentist or GP.
The gums can become tender as the teeth start to come through. Some things that can help are:
- allowing them to chew on a cold damp wash cloth which you have had in the freezer
- massaging the gums with a clean finger
- using a clean teething toy made from solid rubber. (Avoid those made of weak plastics and filled with fluids, as these could break). Be selective when choosing. Just because something is marketed as safe doesn’t always mean that it is. A case occurred in the USA last year where a child suffered lead poisoning after chewing a metal teething bracelet, supposedly made out of homeopathic magnets.
Prevent Decay: Baby teeth are important too!
- Encourage your child to drink water after feeding and meals.
- Never let your baby go to bed with a bottle of milk or liquid other than water, this goes for pacifiers too – never dip in honey! Encourage your infant to finish their bottle before nap or bed time.
- Get in to good brushing habits as soon as the first tooth erupts. Start with a soft toothbrush and water, by the time they are 18 months old you can start introducing children’s toothpaste.
- When there is more than one tooth, start flossing! Baby teeth need to be flossed just as much as adult ones do, if you don’t you are only ever cleaning half of each tooth.
- Visit the dentist early: The Australian Dental Association recommends that every child has had their first dental visit by the time they have their first birthday.
Do you need to make an appointment for your child’s first dental visit? Please call us on (08) 9185 4849 and we will be happy to assist!