The new Mummy fog is beginning to lift, you can just about remember who you are and on a great morning you have even had a shower and, a great Mummy milestone, – a hot cup of tea! So when do you need to think about your baby’s teeth? In truth, they are likely to be on your radar as soon as your little one begins to teethe. The first teeth to come through are usually in the middle, at the bottom. We call these the lower central incisors or (or lower A’s). The upper matching teeth are usually next and teeth tend to erupt in pairs with the left and right teeth usually appearing around the same time. Ava’s baby teeth erupted at 4.5 months, although its usually around 6 months. That said, there is quite a wide variation. Some of her friends don’t have teeth at 1 year, and I have even had a 14 month old baby referred to see me who was quite late to get his teeth. I’d say before a year, don’t panic. At around 1 year you’d do no harm in asking your dentist to have a look, even if it is just to put your mind at rest 🙂 Your baby should have a full set of baby teeth around 2 – 2.5 years of age.
Arranging your first visit to the dentist
As soon as your little one has a tooth, it’s time to think about their first visit to the dentist. I usually recommend taking your baby when you go for your next check up. It’s a good idea to ring ahead and ask the practice if you can bring your little one too. That way they are prepared and you won’t have a rushed visit. I like to lie Ava on my tummy so we can go for a ride in the chair together. Let your baby see that it can be a fun thing to do. If you are anxious about the dentist, maybe this is a job to delegate to Dad or Granny? Remember that babies can pick up our anxieties, please, please don’t pass these on. There have been lots of good studies looking at what makes children anxious at the dentist. One of the top links is a mother’s anxiety (not Dad’s interestingly). Another good idea if your little one has an older sibling is to all go together. Watching a big brother or sister in the chair is actually a technique we use, known as modelling, and it can work very well. Whatever, you do, don’t bring baby to their first appointment when you are having treatment!
Brushing Baby Teeth
Did you know that dentists recommend brushing baby teeth with a flat smear of adult toothpaste as soon as the first tooth comes through up until the age of 2? (After that you increase the a amount of toothpaste to the size of a small pea). This is what I mean by a flat smear – it’s just enough to coat the bristles.
The right toothpaste for baby teeth is one which contains 900 – 1100 parts per million (ppm) fluoride. Look at the back of the pack and you should see it listed in the ingredients like this:
TipDon’t rinse your baby’s mouth out after brushing. This leaves some of the magic fluoride in place which helps to keep your baby’s teeth strong. Don’t worry if they swallow a little – this is why you are only using the flat smear of toothpaste!
If you have a baby that likes to be in control, why not have two brushes – one for you, one for baby? Then everyone’s happy!
If you are struggling to get all of the teeth cleaned, why not start by concentrating on lower teeth in the morning and top teeth at night? That way every tooth has a good clean at some point in the day.