It is never too soon to start caring for your baby’s dental health.
General timeline for how your baby’s teeth develop
- At birth, your baby has twenty primary (baby teeth) present in the jaw
- Between 4-6 months of age, in most cases, your baby’s teeth will start to come through the gums
- Between 6-12 months of age your baby will start to feel the first real tooth
- By age 3 your baby will have the full set of 20 primary baby teeth erupted and totally visible
Tooth decay is the most common dental disease for young children, but also is the most preventable. Start early as your baby grows with a good dental hygiene program with a qualified family dentist. Just remember, invisible at first, but also preventable.
A few suggestions to consider
- Starting early, keep your baby’s gums clean by using a clean damp piece of gauze, washcloth, or an incredibly soft infant toothbrush. Talk and smile to your baby when cleaning the gums. Make it a parent/child time, one which should be fun for the both of you.
- ADA recommends that the first dental visit for your child should take place within six months after the first tooth appears. The first dental visit should NOT be later than your child’s first birthday.
- At the first dental visit ask how often your baby’s teeth should be brushed, what recommendations for the best toothbrush and toothpaste, and what tips they would suggest for the beginning of your baby’s overall smart dental health.
Tips to practice at home for beginning overall good dental health for your child
- When using baby bottles to feed your baby, fill only with plain water, formula, regular milk, or breast milk. Avoid liquids such as sweetened water, fruit juice, or soft drinks. These can be the main causes of your baby’s tooth decay.
- Always use clean pacifiers and DON’T dip them or your own finger for that matter in sugar or honey as parents once did in the past to calm babies when crying.
- NEVER put your baby to bed with a bottle. Always feed before bedtime. Once asleep, gently take baby from your breast or bottle as soon as possible and tuck into bed.
- Avoid sharing saliva with your baby by using the same spoon or by your own mouth for cleaning their pacifier. The mother’s decay-causing bacteria can be passed directly onto the child.
- Stay with the traditional baby bottles and totally avoid ones that look like bottles of soda.
- Once your baby’s first tooth appears, start teaching them to drink water or juice from a spill-proof cup with a collapsible straw or some other variation.