When a baby is born, there is a set of 20 teeth that are hidden under the gums. The first teeth that will present themselves could begin as early as 4 months. “Teething” begins once the teeth start to come through the gums. During the teething process a baby may drool more, be more cranky and irritable, have red swollen gums, and show a desire to chew on things.
There are a number of different ways to help ease the discomfort your baby is feeling during teething:
- Directly massage irritated gums with your finger or a clean, wet, refrigerated cloth
- Give your baby a teething ring or a chilled wet cloth to chew on
- Provide your baby with a piece of chilled banana. Avoid hard foods like raw carrots that could cause choking. Do not give “teething biscuits” as they contain sugar and could also be a choking hazard
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child has a visual dental exam at the age of one. This first dental visit helps the child to feel more comfortable with the dental environment and is also a great source of information for the parents regarding what to expect during the development of their child’s teeth.
As soon as the first tooth erupts, you can begin cleaning the tooth with a damp washcloth. Around the age of 2 years, a child can begin to use fluoridated toothpaste but the amount should be limited to the size of a pea or smaller. Prior to age 2years, fluoridated toothpaste is not recommended because of the likelihood of the child swallowing the toothpaste.
Every child’s dental development is different and there is a range of what is considered “normal development”. A baby could possibly start to have a tooth appear as early as age 4 months or as late as 12 months. Also, permanent teeth will start to erupt between the ages of 6-8yrs. The first permanent teeth to appear are usually the two front upper teeth and the two lower front teeth.