The Various Stages of Teething and Recommended Dental Care

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With so many things to take care of you are hardly likely to find time to take care of your baby’s teeth but it is important. Good teeth help your child to chew food better whereas cavities may cause pain that will lead to improper chewing and food avoidance. Teeth are vital for proper speech development. These are just a couple of reasons to pay special attention to your child’s teeth right from the time they are babies. Know about various baby teething stages and the appropriate dental care techniques.

Baby gums

Nursing mothers need to be aware about the importance of oral hygiene of their babies. Even gums can be vulnerable to bacteria that flourish in the leftover milk in the mouth. The smart thing to do is to wipe the gums of your baby after each feeding. Use a moist cloth. Babies have a full set of teeth underneath the gums but these teeth start erupting only after six months.

Teething gums stages

Teething gums stages can be uncomfortable for the baby and bothersome for the mother. The first milk teeth start erupting from the gums when the baby is around six months of age. The process continues for two years. Babies can have swollen gums and they may have other symptoms like fever, cough and diarrhea as well. Inspect your baby’s mouth. The gums may appear tender and swollen. There may be a blood blister over the erupting tooth. Your dentist should be consulted to check for infection and for use of antibiotics and other precautionary measures to maintain oral hygiene at the time the first teeth start putting in an appearance. Do not, under any circumstance, use benzocaine in any form to relieve pain. Gently massage tender gums with your finger or let the child bite on a clean piece of cloth. Use something cool to reduce inflammation.

Teething timeline

This is the timeline for eruption of primary teeth:

  • Between 6 and 12 months: the central incisors erupt
  • Between 9 and 16 months: lateral incisors put in an appearance
  • Between 16 and 23 months: Canine teeth grow
  • Between 13 and 19 months: First molars appear
  • Between 22 and 24 months: Second molars appear
  • Between 6 and 12 years: Baby teeth fall out and are replaced with adult teeth.

4 teeth erupt for every six months. Lower teeth will usually erupt before the upper teeth do and teeth erupt in pairs. All 20 teeth should be in place by the time your child is 3 years of age. By 4 years the child’s jaw and facial bones grow and can cause gaps between the teeth which should be looked into since food particles lodging here can cause tooth decay.

Appropriate dental care

It is for you, as the mother, to take appropriate care during the baby teething stages. Your dentist will recommend the right toothbrush to use on the first incisors. At the very least you should brush the teeth two times a day using a small amount of toothpaste. Make sure the baby does not swallow the toothpaste.

Teeth do not erupt all at once and that can cause various issues such as teeth growing up at an angle. This can leave gaps between the teeth and cause speech and chewing problems which is why it is important to take your child to the dentist at regular intervals during the teething gums stages. Any such issue can be taken care of by the dentist.

Regular checks and teaching your child the importance of dental care

Teaching your child how to brush is the first thing to do. The best way is to get them to brush at the same time you do. They can imitate your actions and it can be a fun activity.
Children are naturally fond of eating sweets and snacking all the time. Food particles can cause caries and cavities that lead to decay and pain. Teach your child about cleaning teeth after eating anything sweet and try to get them to eat more of fresh fruits and vegetables rather than cookies and cakes. Regular visits to your family dentist will help in detection of any problems and also to him your child become familiar with the dentist.

When milk teeth fall out and permanent teeth grow in place

Milk teeth start falling out and permanent teeth start to grow in place when your child is about six years of age.

  • Upper central incisors appear at around 7 to 8 years
  • Upper lateral incisors appear at 8 to 9 years
  • Upper canine appear around at 11 to 12 years
  • First premolars appear at around 10 to 11 years
  • Second premolars at around 10 to 12 years
  • First molar appears at around 6 to 7 years
  • Second molar appears at around 12 to 13 years
  • Wisdom teeth can appear between the ages of 17 and 21 years.

There is no set sequence. The permanent molars may emerge first in some children while in some it will be the incisors. By the age of 21 a child should have a full set of 32 teeth. In any case this is a critical period when there may be any number of issues.

Issues when permanent teeth grow in place

Issues arise because teeth do not grow all at once but one by one. There may be one or more issues such as:

  • Teeth may not grow up straight but at an angle inward or outward. This invariably results in misalignment of teeth. Dental checkup and treatment is vital during these stages if you notice this issue. Gaps between teeth will cause food particles to accumulate and bacteria flourish leading to tooth decay. Speech will also be affected. Appearance is affected and your child may lose self-confidence. The solution is to get your family dentist to check the teeth and put in place braces to align the teeth.
  • A milk tooth may fall out and it may take time for the permanent tooth to show up. In this case your dentist may put in place a spacer to ensure tooth grows up straight.
  • When the milk tooth falls there may be some bleeding that can be stopped with a bit of sterile gauze.
  • The next critical moment is when the wisdom tooth starts to erupt. This tooth is known to cause many problems since it has little space to grow. It can grow horizontally or at an angle and exert pressure on the other teeth. If it is not straight your dentist may recommend removal to prevent problems in future.

It is important from the point of view of health that teeth are in perfect order. This is possible if you, as a caring parent, take proper care right from the start. Your family dentist plays an important role right from the start of the baby teething stages and well past adulthood.