Baby Teeth Formation
Your baby’s healthy start should include proper dental care. Tooth buds – the foundation for baby teeth – start forming while you’re pregnant.1
Primary Teeth are Important
Primary teeth, also called "baby teeth," will probably start to appear when your baby is six months to a year old. You’ll want to watch for the first tooth to erupt and schedule a dental visit for your child within six months or by his first birthday. The American Dental Association (ADA) says primary teeth are as important as permanent adult teeth because they help children chew and pronounce words properly as well as hold space for permanent teeth developing under the gums. The dentist can check for problems, show you how to clean your baby’s gums and teeth and advise you on dealing with bad habits such as thumb sucking.2
It’s never too soon to start teaching your little one good habits. The ADA offers these tips for a lifelong healthy smile:3
Before teeth appear, wipe your baby’s gums with a wet washcloth or clean gauze pad.
As soon as his first tooth erupts, begin brushing with a small amount of water. Check with your pediatrician or dentist before using toothpaste until he reaches age two.
Gently floss or use an interdental cleaner between any teeth that touch to remove plaque.
Feed your baby a well-balanced diet.
Schedule regular dental check-ups.
Talking About Teeth
Teething is when your baby's first teeth begin to erupt, which usually happens about six months after birth. Some babies experience pain and discomfort. Here are some common signs of teething:4
Fussiness, sleeplessness and irritability.
Loss of appetite or drooling more than usual
Eruption cyst (harmless watery sac on the gum)
Sore or tender gums
To help your baby through the uncomfortable teething process, try these suggestions:
Give him a cold, wet cloth to suck on.
To prevent rashes caused by drool, wipe his face often.
Gently massage his gums with your clean finger.
Rub an over-the-counter teething ointment on his gums to numb them.
Let him chew on a rubber teething ring, but skip the ones with liquid inside, and never tie it around his neck.
Dental Health and Diet
Every conscientious mom knows how important a healthy diet is to her baby’s overall well-being. But did you know diet can specifically affect your child’s dental health? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says a balanced diet is necessary to help teeth develop properly and keep gum tissue around the teeth healthy.
An ideal diet is a good balance of the major food groups: fruits and vegetables; breads and cereals; milk and dairy products; and meat, fish and eggs. It’s also a good idea to limit processed foods containing lots of sugar and starch. Your pediatrician or pediatric dentist may be able to help you make wise food choices for your baby.