Did you know that when your child is born that all of the primary teeth are already formed and hidden in the gums? These primary teeth start to erupt through the gums between 4 months and 6 months of age. The first two teeth to erupt are usually the bottom teeth in the center of the mouth. Then the top four front teeth come in and then your child’s mouth will slowly fill up with teeth. By the time your child is 36 months old all the primary teeth should be up and in place in the mouth. Usually there are spaces between the primary teeth because the primary teeth are so much smaller than the adult permanent teeth. The spaces between the primary teeth assure us that there will be enough space for the permanent teeth to come in. Spaces between primary teeth also make it easier to clean the entire tooth.

You can help your child to have good dental health by teaching your child well oral care habits. Just because baby teeth fall out is no reason not to keep them healthy. Primary teeth are just as important as permanent teeth. Primary teeth have a purpose and that is to help the child to bite and chew food, to make the child look attractive when they smile, and to help the child to speak correctly. The primary teeth also save space in the child’s mouth for the permanent teeth to come in. The primary teeth also help to guide the permanent teeth when they start to erupt.

When should I start to brush my baby’s teeth?

Until you see that first pearly white tooth, wipe the baby’s gum with a clean cloth and clean water after formula or breastfeeding. Do not let formula or breast milk pool in the baby’s mouth.

You should use a baby toothbrush twice a day from the time your baby has 4 primary teeth that are located in a row (top or bottom). Use a soft toothbrush with polished, nylon bristles. Soak the brush in warm water for a few moments before using it on the baby’s teeth. Use a pea-size amount of toothpaste formulated for kids just in case the baby swallows any of the toothpaste.

Any children five years of age or younger needs to have an adult brush the teeth. It is ok for a child to “help” but a child that young is not likely to be able to brush all surfaces of each tooth the way it needs to be done to have good dental health.

Talk to your pediatrician or dentist about baby-bottle tooth decay and how to prevent it.

Human breast milk does not promote tooth decay unless other foods are added to the diet along with the breastfeeding.

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