Having a newborn or toddler is an exciting time in life. It can also be overwhelming. So many things change as the newborn enters the family, causing shifts in your regular routine. Something many parents don’t give a lot of thought to is facts about baby teeth. But understanding baby teeth facts and how your child’s teeth will develop is important. Columbia Smiles knows you want the best for your children, which also includes great oral healthcare. Ultimately, the best place to begin is with baby teeth facts. This information will help equip you as your children age and start having visits from the tooth fairy.
Key Baby Teeth Facts
Understanding baby teeth facts begins with the question, “What are baby teeth?” Baby teeth are the same as adult teeth in terms of their structure and substance. One purpose of baby teeth is to lay the groundwork for your adult teeth. As they come in, they provide spacing and a guide for future adult teeth. Also similar to adult teeth, they help children chew and grind up food. Outlined below are five facts about baby teeth that every new parent should know.
1. Children Develop 20 Baby Teeth
Many people are surprised to find out that the number of baby teeth children have is different from the number they will end up with as an adult. Children develop 20 baby teeth that fall out over time to make way for permanent teeth. A baby’s first tooth may erupt as soon as the six-month mark, though sometimes babies hit their first birthday before their first tooth emerges. Generally, baby teeth begin falling out around age five and are fully replaced by the 32 adult teeth by age 12.
2. Baby Teeth Result in Teething Pains
Teething is a common experience for babies. It happens as a result of their baby teeth pushing through their gums. This process is often uncomfortable and painful. Babies commonly respond to teething pain by displaying some or all of the following:
- Ear pulling
- Gum swelling
- Obsession with chewing
There are multiple things you can do to ease your baby’s pain when they are teething. The first is breastfeeding, which is proven to soothe a baby’s distress. And if you’re worried about bites from your child, you can use frozen breast milk or allow them to suck on appropriately sized ice cubes to relieve their pain.
Additional options for relieving teething pain include chilled washcloths, cold food, teething biscuits, or a rubber teething ring. Do not use a pain-relieving teething gel or pain medication unless you first clear it with your pediatric dentist.
3. Baby Teeth Require Care
The impermanence of baby teeth makes some people think they require less care. But you shouldn’t ignore baby teeth. They are susceptible to cavities and tooth decay much like adult teeth. Develop a regular dental hygiene routine that involves twice-yearly dental visits and regular brushing to make sure your baby’s teeth remain in great shape.
4. Bottles and Thumb-Sucking Can Damage Teeth
It is not so much the bottle that causes issues, but rather its contents. Just like with adult teeth, sugary drinks can cause decay in baby teeth. If what your baby is drinking through a bottle is higher in sugar, as some formulas are, be sure to wipe their mouth with sterile gauze after feeding. This can ensure that plaque build-up stays at a minimum.
Regarding thumb-sucking, it typically poses no problems in the early years. It often provides babies with some comfort. But your child should avoid thumb-sucking after they have a majority of their baby teeth. Otherwise, it may cause alignment problems.
5. Baby Teeth Can Interfere with Adult Teeth
Baby teeth that fall out too soon or too late can interfere with the development of adult teeth. Be in regular contact with your pediatric dentist to ensure any potential alignment problems are corrected before they become larger issues.
Learn More Baby Teeth Facts with Columbia Smiles
Columbia Smiles is a leading family dentist. Our team of high-quality, caring staff is here to support your baby’s oral healthcare. Find out more baby teeth facts and what you can do to ensure your baby’s oral health by calling 410.690.4855.