Ever wonder about the beauty of those contagious, toothless smiles of babies? Well, those little gums are never idle, with budding teeth below the surface patiently waiting to make their grand appearance. Understanding when babies typically get their first tooth and how to care for these tiny treasures is crucial for ensuring a healthy smile for your little one.

This blog post will explore the timeline of baby teeth eruption, signs of teething, oral health care tips, and the importance of pediatric dental visits.

When Do Babies Usually Get Their First Tooth?

The first tooth in babies typically emerges at around 4 to 7 months of age, although this can vary widely amongst different infants. The first tooth to appear is usually the lower central incisor, located at the bottom front of the mouth. It’s also worth mentioning that while most babies will have their first tooth by this period, it is not unusual for some to get their first tooth earlier or later than this range. Every child is unique, and the timing of their first tooth is primarily dependent on genetic factors.

By the time a child is 3 years old, they will typically have all 20 of their primary teeth. These baby teeth play a critical role in helping the child to chew food and develop clear speech patterns. Moreover, these primary teeth hold space in the jaws for the eventual eruption of the permanent teeth. Therefore, although these baby teeth are temporary, they have long-lasting impacts on the child’s oral health.

What Are the Signs of Teething?

Excessive Drooling

The teething process in babies, beginning with the emergence of the deciduous teeth or the so-called “milk teeth,” often triggers an increase in drooling. This can start as early as a few months old, even before the baby’s teeth, such as the lateral incisors, start to break through the gums. While drooling can cause the baby to be a bit messy, it is a normal part of the teething process.

Irritability and Discomfort

Teething can manifest in signs of discomfort—it can make a baby feel uncomfortable, leading to irritability and unusual fussiness. Low-grade fevers sometimes accompany these signs of distress, but it’s a wide range of symptoms and not all babies experience it. Discomfort and irritability are usually at their height in the days preceding the tooth’s emergence, like when their upper teeth or lateral incisors are about to break through the gum.

Changes in Sleep Patterns

One of the typical signs that your baby’s teeth, by age, are developing is changes in their sleep patterns due to the discomfort associated with teething. This may cause them to have difficulty falling asleep or wake up frequently throughout the night. It is important for parents to establish a soothing bedtime routine to help a teething baby get proper rest.

Chewing on Objects

As they cut their first set of milk teeth, babies often find relief from teething discomfort by chewing on solid objects. This habit helps when introducing them to solid foods, as the pressure from chewing can relieve the discomfort they feel in their gums. They may bite on toys, fingers, and even grains of rice-sized objects more often than usual. Providing specially designed teething toys that are safe for chewing and coolable in the refrigerator adds relief.

Swollen or Tender Gums

The gums become swollen or tender as the new tooth, such as lateral incisors, pushes through the gum. This marks another stage in their teeth-by-age development journey. A pea-sized amount of cooling gel or offering a cold teething ring can provide relief. Additionally, parents might notice their baby’s interest in touching their mouth more often or that their gums appear redder than usual.

Dental Care Tips for Baby Teeth

  • Start Early. Dental care for babies should start even before the first tooth appears. Parents can clean their baby’s gums with a wet washcloth or a baby brush and water at least twice a day, especially after feedings and before bedtime. This helps ensure healthy teeth right from the start.
  • Brushing. Once the first baby tooth emerges, parents should start scheduling their first dental appointment and using a baby toothbrush with a grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. As more teeth come in, be sure to brush them twice a day; this helps build a foundation for healthy teeth. By age 3, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used.
  • Avoiding Baby Bottle Decay. To avoid your baby experiencing pain from tooth decay, never put the baby to bed with a bottle filled with anything but water. Liquids like milk, juice, and formula contain sugars that can lead to tooth decay.
  • Healthy Eating. Encourage a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and proteins with a minimal amount of sugary or processed foods. This not only helps maintain healthy teeth but also promotes overall oral health.
  • Regular Dental Appointments. The child’s first dental appointment should occur no later than the first birthday but no later than six months after the first tooth erupts. Scheduling routine dental examinations with a pediatric dentist can help identify any early indicators of tooth decay and provide important guidance on your child’s oral hygiene.
  • Use of Fluoride. Ask your dentist about the right time to introduce a fluoride rinse, which can help prevent tooth decay. Always supervise its use since too much fluoride can be harmful to young children. Note that if your baby is in pain due to teething, a cold washcloth can help soothe their gums. Always seek medical advice if the pain persists.

The Importance of Visiting a Reliable Pediatric Dentist

  • Specialized Care. A pediatric dentist is specifically trained to handle oral health issues in children from infancy through adolescence. They specialize in the care of baby teeth and permanent teeth and the monitoring of growth and development, ensuring all oral health needs of children are met.
  • Early Detection. Regular visits to a pediatric dentist ensure early detection of oral health problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, or orthodontic concerns. This can help prevent or treat issues at an early stage.
  • Prevention and Education. Pediatric dentists are excellent resources for parents to learn about oral health care practices for their children. They can guide diet, brushing techniques, and even habits like thumb sucking, helping prevent future dental issues.
  • Comforting Environment. Pediatric dentists usually create a kid-friendly environment to make children feel comfortable and reduce dental fear or anxiety. They use specialized equipment designed for children and often explain dental procedures and oral health in a kid-friendly way.
  • Lifelong Oral Health Habits. By regularly visiting a pediatric dentist, children learn the importance of taking care of their teeth, starting the journey towards lifelong good oral health habits early.

Make the Wise Choice for Your Baby’s Teeth: Choose Monadnock Dental Associates

Understanding when do most babies get their first tooth and developing proper dental care routines early is imperative for the health of your child’s teeth. Regular dental visits play an instrumental role in ensuring lifelong oral health. 

Our dedication to early detection, prevention, and education ensures your child gets the best start to their oral health journey. Set your child on the path to a brilliant smile today by scheduling your appointment with Monadnock Dental Associates. We look forward to being your partner in navigating your child’s dental health journey.