When babies start teething it’s a new journey for them and for parents. Most babies will develop teeth between 6 and 12 months of age. It’s important for parents to understand the difference between baby teeth and adult teeth. Baby teeth are much tinier and delicate and need to be cared for differently than adult teeth.
We created a list of tips and general knowledge to help care for baby teeth for your child’s dental health can grow and develop with optimal health.
What Do You Need to Know About Baby Teeth and Dental Hygiene?
- Try massaging sore gums or providing something cold when your baby is showing they’re distressed from teething. This can help soothe the pain of your baby’s teeth. On the occasional rough night, it’s okay to use acetaminophen.
- Start adding fluoride to your child’s diet around 6 months of age. Fluoride will help prevent any tooth decay by hardening the enamel of teeth. Fluoride is often added to tap water and giving your baby just a few ounces a day will suffice.
- Brush any teeth your child has twice a day with fluoride toothpaste that is only the size of a grain of rice. Once your child is around 3 years old, the ADA recommends using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste when brushing.
- It’s important to understand that you have to clean your child’s gums twice a day because 40% of children have cavities in their baby teeth.
- It’s common for baby teeth to get stuck. Baby teeth can fuse to the surrounding bone, causing the tooth to sink into the nearby gum tissue. This is called ankylosis. This can also happen to adults as well, but it’s more common in baby teeth. The baby teeth attach to the nearby bone, and this condition is not always obvious until children fail to lose their baby teeth.
- Healthy baby teeth often grow in blue. If a healthy baby grows a tooth within an infant’s first 6 months, they can come in a slightly different color. Once the tooth falls out, the adult tooth that takes its place should be white.
- About 15% of children continue to suck their thumbs after the age of 5. This habit can distort the shape of the jaw and cause permanent damage to the teeth.
- Be sure to make your baby’s first dentist appointment when the first tooth grows in. It’s important that all children see a pediatric dentist and establish a dentist by the age of one. A pediatric dentist will be able to make sure all teeth are developing normally and that there are no dental issues or potential problems.