It takes time for your child to go from that loveable toothless smile to a mouth full of teeth. That first tooth is a big milestone for your little one. As a parent you probably want to know when you can expect that single tooth to arrive, and what other teeth are soon to follow.
The development of teeth begins while the baby is still in the womb. At birth, your baby has hidden buds of primary teeth, also known as milk teeth, that will erupt through the gums at different stages of development.
Tooth eruption is also called teething. The timing of tooth eruption varies from child to child. One baby may cut their first tooth when only a few months old, while another may not start teething until they are 12 months old or more. Timing might vary but tooth eruption time is usually in this order:
- The two front teeth between the ages of six and 10 months.
- Central incisors between the ages of eight and 13 months.
- Lateral incisors, the teeth on each side of the central incisors, erupt in both the upper and lower jaw around 8 and 16 months.
- The first set of upper and lower molars erupt between the ages of 13 and 19 months.
- The canine teeth will appear in the upper and lower jaws between the ages of 16 and 23 months.
- The second set of upper and lower molars erupt between the ages of 25 and 33 months.
The average child has their full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are three years old. Yes, the teething process can be long. Here are some tips to keep your child comfortable when teething is causing discomfort:
- Massage your baby’s gums with clean fingers or a soft, wet cloth
- Chill teething rings or rusks – pressure from cold items can relieve discomfort
- Sugar-free teething biscuits – for infants over six months who have already began eating solids
- Children’s medications for pain relief
Caring for primary teeth
It might seem silly to care for teeth that are soon to fall out when your child receives their adult teeth but caring for baby teeth is very important. Baby teeth enable your child to chew food, speak properly, and hold the proper spaces for future adult teeth.
Tips for caring for primary teeth:
- from birth – wipe baby’s mouth and gums with a soft cloth
- first tooth – brush twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and water
- 12 months – this is a good time to bring your child to their first dentist visit
- 18 months – add a pea-sized amount of children’s toothpaste to the brush, and encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste (and not swallow or rinse)
- two and a half years – start flossing between any teeth that touch
- At around 4 to 5 years old start teaching your child to brush their own teeth. After six years of age your child can begin to use adult toothpaste. Just make sure they know not to swallow any toothpaste.
If it’s time for your child to see the dentist for their first visit, give us a call today (403) 342-5800.