Baby Teeth Coming In Late
For most children, baby teeth erupt between 6 and 12 months. A slight delay is fine, but it may be time to see your dentist if your child has no teeth at 18 months. Delayed tooth eruption usually isn’t a major cause for concern, but it never hurts to check.
When you’re an adult, the very first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions dentistry is cavities. The second thing? Baby teeth. It’s not hard to understand why — babies have tiny little pearly whites that are soft and weak-willed. They’re also prone to damage from things like bottle or pacifier nipples getting lodged in their gums. And who can blame parents for being nervous about letting them get too close to sharp objects like knives or scissors?
But even though they might seem fragile, those precious teeth are actually pretty tough. Like adults’ teeth, baby teeth form a strong foundation upon which permanent teeth will eventually grow. However, unlike adults’ teeth, baby teeth don’t need much maintenance once they’ve arrived. For this reason, many pediatricians advise waiting until kids reach the age of 1 or 2 before scheduling dental exams.
The average American kid gets his first set of pearly whites by around age 6. But some kids take longer than others. If yours doesn’t start developing properly, there could be several reasons for this. One possibility is delayed tooth eruption. This happens when baby teeth don’t come into full view until after a certain period of time passes since birth. Tooth development occurs in three phases: primary (the initial four stages), secondary (when permanent teeth begin growing) and tertiary (when all the teeth have formed). After these phases occur, it takes another year or two before the final stage kicks in. During this phase, the upper and lower front central incisors finally break through the gums. These teeth then begin to erupt, or push out, from either side of the mouth toward the center.
Delayed tooth eruptions aren’t particularly common; only 5 percent of infants end up having any missing teeth. Generally speaking, this condition seems to affect boys more often than girls. When it does happen, however, it typically stems from a problem with the timing rather than anything else. Sometimes, baby teeth simply won’t erupt on schedule. Other times, they’ll come in too soon. Either way, the result is mismatched teeth.
Just because your child’s baby teeth haven’t started appearing yet doesn’t mean he should skip out on regular visits to the dentist. On the contrary, keeping your child regularly scheduled appointments is one of the best ways to make sure everything goes smoothly. As long as you catch any problems early on, your child shouldn’t suffer lasting consequences from delayed tooth eruption.
However, if your child has been skipping his appointment for a few months now, it may be time to contact your family doctor or pediatrician. Your health care provider will probably want to run tests to determine whether your son or daughter suffers from any medical conditions that might require further treatment. He or she might also recommend seeing a specialist, such as an oral surgeon or orthodontist, depending on what kind of shape your child’s teeth are currently in.
If your child’s delayed tooth eruption is caused by something other than just an off-schedule eruption, you should still keep your child healthy and well-groomed. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste helps prevent cavities, so continue brushing him or her at least twice every day. You should also encourage your child to floss and use mouthwash, especially if your child’s teeth look discolored or misshapen.
Now let’s go over some tips for caring for baby teeth once they appear.
Tips for Caring for Baby Teeth
Once your child’s baby teeth start popping in, follow these simple instructions to help ensure their health and longevity:
Keep Them Clean: Just like adults, baby teeth can become stained and dirty over time. To avoid this, clean your child’s teeth using a gentle toothbrush and mild soap made specifically for small mouths. Rinse thoroughly to remove any plaque build-up.
Watch for Cavities: Babies are vulnerable to cavities because their teeth are softer and less developed than ours are. Because of this, it’s important for parents to keep track of signs that indicate a new cavity forming in order to intervene sooner rather than later. Look for yellowing, swelling, pain or tenderness at the gum line. By monitoring your child’s teeth, you’ll give yourself plenty of time to nip potential issues in the bud before they turn into bigger ones.
Don’t Use Bottles: Bottle-fed babies are susceptible to damaging their teeth while feeding themselves with plastic containers. Even if you think the container is clean, bacteria left behind can lead to cavities down the road. Instead, feed your baby directly with a cup or spoon whenever possible.
Avoid Tongues That Are Too Hot or Cold: Some people argue that hot drinks like tea and coffee help fight cavities because they soften tooth enamel. While this is true, it’s also important to remember how quickly drinks cool down once poured out of cups. When beverages are served cold, watch for sipping behaviors like licking lips or holding the drink away from the face. Avoid foods that contain sugars, like candy, right after meals. Sweets and sugary snacks release acids that erode tooth enamel. Also steer clear of citrus juices and sodas, which weaken teeth enamel and can contribute to tooth decay.
Drink Water Throughout the Day: Drinking water throughout the day keeps your body hydrated and helps flush toxins out of your system. Without enough fluids, your mouth dries out and becomes more susceptible to cavities and infections.
Eat Right: Eating a balanced diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables is key to good oral hygiene. Fruits and veggies provide a natural source of calcium, phosphorus and vitamins needed to strengthen bones and teeth. Foods high in protein, carbohydrates and fats are also essential to maintaining proper nutrition and good health.
\tMany experts agree that starting kids on solid food before age 1 is safe and beneficial. Once your child starts eating real food, visit the site link below for tips on making mealtime easier and healthier for everyone involved.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R),
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