green monster with tooth

All About Primary Teeth

Did you know that although primary teeth, or baby teeth, are “temporary”, they play a very important role in the health of your child’s permanent teeth and health? That means providing proper dental care even before teeth erupt is vital to good oral care.

Tooth Formation and Emergence

A baby’s 20 primary teeth begin forming before birth and can be impacted by the mother’s health and problems during pregnancy. The teeth begin to erupt between 6 months and 1 year. Most children have a full set of primary teeth by age 3. While every child is different, usually the teeth in the front top and bottom of the mouth emerge first.

Dealing with Soreness

When baby teeth begin to emerge, your child may experience some discomfort and you may notice some redness around the site of the newly emerging teeth. In most cases, the discomfort is minimal and can be managed by letting your baby chew on a cool teething ring or rubbing your clean finger across the gums. If the pain persists or seems unmanageable, it is important to consult your pediatric dentist or pediatrician.

primary teeth chart

Why are Baby Teeth So Important?

Baby teeth are important to your child’s health and development. Not only are they important for chewing and getting proper nutrition, but they are also important to speech development and the healthy development of permanent teeth. The primary teeth hold a space for the permanent teeth already growing beneath the primary teeth and help ensure proper spacing.

Practice Good Oral Care Right from the Start

Great oral care begins early. Even before the first primary tooth erupts, use a warm washcloth to clean the gums after each feeding. Visits to the pediatric dentist should begin soon after the first tooth emerges and should continue with regular visits every 3 to 6 months. As soon as teeth emerge, decay can occur.

Tips for the Care of Primary Teeth

Primary teeth can and do get cavities. Follow these tips for great oral care and to avoid cavities.

  • Begin cleaning your baby’s gums a few days after birth by wiping the gums down with a damp cloth.
  • For children younger than three, brush teeth twice a day using a soft brush and a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste (no larger than a grain of rice).
  • For children 3-6 years of age, increase the amount of toothpaste to a pea-sized amount and continue to supervise daily brushing until at least the age of 6.
  • Flossing should begin at 3-6 years of age, children younger than 3 are considered on a case by case basis by a Pediatric Dentist will evaluate for their need.
  • Continue to monitor brushing until the child can properly brush alone.
  • Schedule your child’s first visit to the dentist soon after teeth begin to emerge and then every 3-6 months for children 6 and under; every 6 months for children 7 and older.

An early dental visit is a “well-baby checkup” for the primary teeth. Besides checking for cavities and other problems, the dentist will show you how to clean the child’s teeth properly, address habits like thumb sucking. If you are looking for a Children’s Dentist in the Inland Empire, call us today!