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Baby dental care
Baby dental care

Baby teeth development

Baby teeth develop while babies are still in the womb. Newborns have a full set of 20 baby teeth hidden in their gums.

For most babies, teeth begin to appear between 6 and 10 months. In some children, teeth appear as early as three months. In others, they don’t arrive until around 12 months. Children get teeth at different times. A very small number of children are born with 1-2 teeth.

Baby teeth can arrive in any order, although the central bottom teeth are often first. All 20 baby teeth will usually arrive by the time your child is three years old.

The 32 adult teeth replace the baby teeth between the ages of 6 and 20 years.

Teething

As each baby tooth gets to the surface of the gum, the gum opens up to show the tooth.

Babies sometimes rub their gums together when new teeth are starting to come through the gum. This isn’t usually a problem.

Many people think that ‘teething’ babies also:

  • cry a lot or seem extra cranky
  • don’t feed as well as usual
  • suck on objects like toys, dummies and bibs
  • have more dirty nappies more often
  • pull the ear on the same side as the tooth coming through.

These signs might be caused by teething – or they might just be a normal part of development or a result of minor infections and illnesses. If your baby isn’t well, it’s always best to take your baby to your GP, especially if baby has a fever or diarrhoea, or you’re worried about any other symptoms.

Teething: things to try

If you’re concerned about your baby’s teething, you can try:

  • gently rubbing your baby’s gums with a clean finger – make sure to wash your hands first
  • giving your baby something to bite on, like a cold (but not frozen) teething ring, toothbrush or dummy
  • cooking mushier foods, which need less chewing
  • giving your baby something firm, like a sugar-free rusk, to suck on.

Don’t put your baby to sleep with a bottle. When your baby is asleep, there’s less saliva in the mouth to protect teeth. If your baby falls asleep with a bottle, formula or milk might slowly drip into your baby’s mouth and soak teeth. This puts your baby at risk of tooth decay. Also note that putting your baby to sleep with a bottle is a choking risk.

 

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