Your Dentist’s Guide to Primary (Baby) Teeth

The development of a smile is an important milestone for all people, and it often starts before you even celebrate your first birthday. Baby teeth are a normal phase in the early years, but they can sometimes cause mild discomfort for children or require extra care from adults.

Baby girl shows off her baby teeth in Asheville

We’ve run through all the variables that parents should be aware of when their children’s baby teeth begin to fall out so that you can feel prepared and can ensure the best oral health for your family.

The Basics of Baby Teeth

Children are born with 20 primary teeth present in their jaw, otherwise known as “baby teeth.” They begin to erupt, or push through the gums, between six months to one year after birth, and most children will have a full set by the time they are three years old.

Once primary teeth emerge, babies will experience sore and tender gums. This period of time is usually referred to as “teething.” A teething baby’s discomfort can be soothed by using wet gauze or a small, cold spoon. You can also give your child a clean teething ring to chew on. Sucking on a thumb or pacifier is alright as long as your child stops by the time they’re two years old.

Baby teeth are important to your child’s development. Besides helping a child chew and bite, baby teeth also prevent teeth from shifting too early, which will affect the way that adult teeth grow in later on. Primary teeth are also useful in properly developing your child’s speech as their tongue and lips touch the teeth, enabling them to pronounce words clearly. To ensure that your baby doesn’t lose their teeth too early, you should begin to take your child to the dentist six months after eruption—just another good reason to visit your local dental practice in Asheville.

Take good care of your child’s primary teeth by doing the following:

  • Encouraging them to brush daily with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Providing a healthy and nutritious diet.
  • Taking your baby to the dentist regularly, with their first appointment occuring by the time they turn one.
  • Showing them the right way to clean their teeth. You’ll be in charge of cleaning their teeth for the first couple of years of their life, so be sure to show them the right way that they should be brushing.

Losing Baby Teeth

Most children will begin to lose their primary teeth around the age of 6, after the teeth have been growing in for a couple of years. This is just an average and will vary from child to child, but you should be sure to visit your dentist right away if your child loses a tooth prematurely do to accident or tooth decay. The latter could indicate a more serious problem. Additionally, the premature loss of a primary tooth might not leave enough room for the permanent tooth to grow in.

Teeth usually fall out in the order in which they erupted, meaning that the two bottom front teeth will fall out first. The last of their primary teeth, which is usually the second molar, is often lost by the age of 12 or 13. One of the most challenging parts of dealing with baby teeth is the wait: a tooth can take days or even months to fall out once your child realizes that it’s loose. The more that your child wiggles the tooth, the faster it will fall out, and the sooner that a new tooth will begin to appear to take its place. If a new tooth hasn’t grown in after six months, take your child to see their dentist as they may refer you to an oral surgeon.

After a Tooth Falls Out

Whenever a tooth falls out, have your child garge some warm water, especially if there’s some bleeding. Child-friendly toothpaste can continue to be used but make sure that your child knows not to brush too hard where the tooth has fallen out.

After the loss of baby teeth, you should take the opportunity to reinforce the importance of good oral health routines with your children. This would include brushing twice per day at minimum, flossing at least once per day, and observing healthy eating habits. Stress the importance of avoiding sugary drinks like soda and other damaging food and beverages while teaching them the right ways to clean their teeth.

Conclusion

Teeth are a very important part of keeping good health, and it’s never too early to use the best practices. Baby teeth may not be permanent, but they are an important part of your child’s development. Make sure that your children have access to regular dental visits and gentle, fluoride toothpastes from the beginning so that their teeth are well taken care of. Regular visits starting early will also help your child overcome any fear they have of the dentist. If you are in the Asheville area and looking for a new dental practice to call home, contact us to request more information or set up an appointment. Our practice offers dentistry services for the whole family.

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