Baby teeth are important!
When will my child get and lose teeth?
Primary teeth, also called baby teeth, are truly nature’s braces. Baby teeth are crucial to your child’s health and development. They help them chew, speak and smile. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in, making teeth crooked or crowded. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.
Teeth vary in size, shape, location in the jaws. These differences enable teeth to work together to help you chew, speak and smile. They also help give your face its shape and form. At birth, everyone usually has 20 baby (primary) teeth concealed under the gums, which start to come in (erupt) at about six months of age. Some signs include irritability, drooling, and gnawing on objects, though not all babies experience the pain or discomfort that causes these behaviors. Typically, any teething discomfort is treated at home. However, a parent or caregiver should contact their pediatrician anytime an infant has a fever higher than 101°F (38.3°C), with or without additional symptoms, because a fever could indicate that the baby has an infection. During teething, a baby may pass looser stools. However, diarrhea can lead to dehydration, especially severe, long-lasting, or accompanied by vomiting. So what are some things parents can try at home to help with teething?
- Providing a rubber teething ring to satisfy the urge to bite or chew. Do not put these in the freezer to become stiff, as these can damage the gums.
- Rubbing the gums for a few minutes at a time to help prevent cheek-rubbing and ear-pulling. Do not apply any topical gels or creams to the gums.
- Keeping the area around the mouth, cheeks, and neck as clean and dry as possible prevents skin irritation. Applying a barrier cream or moisturizing ointment to the cheeks to help prevent a rash.
- Spending more time comforting the baby by holding them for more extended periods during the day.
- Providing a safe dosage of a pain medication suitable for infants.
Even if their teeth have yet to appear, a baby should receive a dental checkup by their first birthday. Teeth fall out (shed) at various times throughout childhood. By age 21, all 32 of the permanent teeth have usually erupted.
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