Some babies are born with a tooth already through, while others remain totally toothless until after their first birthday. Whenever they arrive, this is roughly the order in which your child's teeth will appear, and tips on how to care for them.
Each tooth is formed, though they remain in the jaw until their time to appear. Still, one in every 2000 babies is born with a tooth showing, which is called a natal tooth. (So watch out, breastfeeding moms!)
Babies drool for many reasons, but teething is one of the most common reasons, since teeth commonly make their first appearance during these months. The typical pattern of teething (if there is such a thing) has the bottom center teeth erupting first.
The first tooth often appears now. It's nearly always a bottom front one (the lower central incisor). Baby teeth are also called deciduous teeth because they fall out. In fact, you'll probably see several teeth during this time period, if you haven't seen some already.
Getting your 12- to 18-month-old accustomed to brushing her teeth (and letting you brush them as well) will help teach her good habits for the future. Low-fluoride toothpaste is recommended for children of this age, rather than adult versions, because they inevitably swallow it.
The pointier canine teeth arrive next. These pointy teeth are sometimes jokingly referred to as "vampire teeth." While they may have a cute name, remembering to brush your toddler's teeth every day is no laughing matter.
If your nearly 2-year-old wants to exert her independence at every turn, try not to make brushing a battle. It's also a good idea to take your child to see a dentist to get her used to the idea of having her teeth checked.
Between 2 and 3 years, your child's milk teeth (20 in all) will probably all appear, and your dental care routine at home will become even more important as you help your child establish good lifelong habits.
Her baby teeth will tend to be slightly gappy by this age. The gaps help adult teeth grow in evenly. Keep up the regular dental checkups and continue to encourage your child to brush after meals. Drinks can contain a lot of sugar as well as foods, including fresh fruit juice.
The first tooth starts to wobble and eventually comes out. It's usually the lower central incisor, the first to appear in babyhood. Baby teeth don't actually fall out; the adult tooth below presses and that the baby tooth's roots dissolve so its crown has nothing to tie it down.
Looking ahead, she'll have 28 teeth until her early 20s, when her third molars (aka wisdom teeth), come in, making 32 altogether. By taking care of your baby's teeth from day one, she'll look forward to a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles!
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