Baby Teeth: What Parents Should Know

Caring for Baby Teeth

A toddler’s baby teeth are just as important as their permanent teeth. Also known as the primary teeth, deciduous teeth, or milk teeth, these “temporary” teeth typically erupt when a baby is between 6 to 10 months of age. They are designed to improve the child’s talking and chewing ability while also creating space in the jaw bone for the formation of permanent teeth.

Baby Teeth Explained

Baby teeth usually erupt in sequential pattern, starting with the central incisors (front teeth) and ending with the second molars (back teeth). See below for more details on when to expect your baby’s teeth to erupt.

  • Central incisors: 6 to 12 months
  • Lateral incisors: 9 to 16 months
  • First molars: 13 to 19 months
  • Canine teeth: 16 to 23 months
  • Second molars: 22 to 33 months

Of course, this is a rough estimate of when baby teeth normally erupt and not always 100% accurate. Don’t worry if your child’s baby teeth haven’t erupted within 6 months. Wait until his or her first birthday and then schedule an appointment to see the dentist.

When Should My Child See The Dentist?

The American Dental Association (ADA) advises parents to take their children to see the dentist within six months of their first baby tooth eruption but not later than one year of age. The dentist will check to make sure the child’s baby teeth are coming in at a normal, healthy angle. In addition, the dentist will also the check for tooth decay and cavities, showing you the proper way to clean your child’s teeth.

Some parents assume their child’s baby teeth do not need to be cleaned simply because they are temporary. But baby teeth—just like permanent teeth—can suffer from tooth decay and cavities.

Your dentist can provide more custom-tailored guidance on how to care for your child’s baby teeth, but the best approach typically involves a soft-bristle brush with a pea-sized drop of fluoride-based toothpaste. Gently brush both the front and back of your child’s teeth, focusing on areas where there’s noticeable food debris. When you are finished, have your child rinse with fresh water.

Parents should also refrain from laying their children down at night with a bottle of fruit juice. While it may seem harmless enough, fruit juice is loaded with sugar. This sugary substance will sit on your child’s teeth for the entire night, promoting decay.

For more information, contact one of the dentists at Little Rock Family Dental Care!