Have you ever had a baby drool on you? A new tooth may be on its way. A baby’s first teeth are temporary. They form in the gums before birth and begin erupting at about six months.
By the time a baby is two or three, they should have a complete set of 20 temporary teeth. These teeth help babies eat solid foods and form words as they learn to speak. They’re also very important placeholders – allowing the permanent teeth to line up correctly as they grow in.
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring these important first teeth. If baby teeth are lost too early, there could be spacing and crowding problems as the permanent teeth come in. This can lead to a need for braces down the line. So consider these tips for healthy baby teeth: [bulletlist]
- Wipe a baby’s mouth and gums clean with a damp cloth or gauze pad – even before the first tooth erupts.
- Prevent “baby bottle tooth decay” and don’t give babies milk, water, apple juice or any other liquid containing sugar at bedtime. Sugary liquids can cause tooth decay if left on teeth for a long time.
- Take your baby to the dentist when the first tooth erupts, but no later than age one.
- Have your baby drink water with fluoride, which it proven to prevent tooth decay.
[/bulletlist]Baby teeth start to fall out about age six until about 13 when the permanent teeth come in. Four more teeth – called wisdom teeth – usually come in between ages 17 and 21. By the time we’re adults, we have 32 teeth.
If you’re worried about your child’s teeth developing properly, call your dentist. And for more information on the importance of taking care of your baby’s first teeth, go here.