When your baby is about six months
old, you'll probably see a first tooth, a lower front incisor. Sometimes
teething begins as early as three or four months. But it can start as late
as a year.
Even though they'll eventually
fall out, primary teeth can get cavities and may need to be treated. They
serve as space maintainers for permanent teeth.
Primary teeth prematurely lost
can lead to problems with permanent teeth, speech, and jaw structure.
Babies get plaque, too, and their
teeth should be wiped with a clean washcloth.
Thumbsucking is usually harmless
for babies and toddlers, but can present a problem with tooth positioning
after permanent teeth erupt.
Parents, you'll want to see if
the water in your area is fluoridated. If it's not, contact us about other
kinds of fluoride protection like tablets or rinses.
Babies shouldn't fall asleep with
bottles in their mouths -- the sugar in juices or milk formulas can cause
tooth decay, leading to cavities, dental discomfort, and even tooth loss.
Plain water, especially if it's fluoridated, is usually best.
Some parents worry that if their
infants use pacifiers, tooth problems are sure to follow. Not necessarily.
There are some safety considerations to consider if you decide to use a
- Never tie a pacifier around a baby's neck -- the cord
may choke or strangle an infant./LI>
- Use only commercial pacifiers that are one-piece,
too large to be swallowed, and feature mouthguards with two, large ventilation
- Watch for breaks in the nipple. The end may break
off and your baby may swallow it. If you find rips in a pacifier or nipple,
throw it out immediately.