Baby Teeth

Usually the first baby teeth to come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. They begin to appear when your child is about 6 to 8 months old. They are followed by the 4 upper front teeth.The remainder of your baby’s teeth will appearperiodically, usually in pairs on each side of the jaw, until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.By the time your child is 2 ½ years old, all 20 baby teeth will most likely have come in. From this point until the child is 5 to 6 years of age, his/her first permanent teeth will begin to erupt.Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth, others don’t.

The following picture shows approximately when each baby tooth should erupt. Do not worry if some teeth are a few months early or late. Every child is different.Even though baby teeth will eventually be lost, they are just as important as the adult teeth.They not only hold the space for incoming permanent teeth, but are also important for biting and chewing food, speech, and physical appearance. Early tooth loss due to dental decay can have a serious impact on your child’s self-esteem and self-confidence in their appearance.For this reason, it is important to teach your child from an early age, the importance of eating a healthy diet, and practicing daily oral hygiene to maintain healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime of smiles.


Teething can be very painful. When babies begin teething between the ages of four months and two and a half-years old, they often have sore and tender gums. The breaking through of these teeth often causes a child to become irritable and cranky. Gently rubbing your baby’s gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon, or a wet gauze can usually soothe this pain. You can also give the baby a clean teething ring to chew on. Contrary to common belief, teething does not cause fevers. If a fever does exist, it needs to be addressed as a separate medical concern. If the baby continues to be cranky and uncomfortable after your attempt to ease the teething pain, consult your dentist or physician.


Believe it or not, when parents set a positive attitude and example,dental visits can be enjoyable for children. Never bribe your child into going to the dentist — and don’t use a dental visit as a punishment. You shouldn’t let your child hear scary stories about the dentist. And under no circumstances should your child know that you feel any anxiety about going to the dentist yourself.Set a good example for your child by brushing and flossing your own teeth thoroughly everyday and by visiting the dentist regularly.By talking about the dental visit in a positive, matter-of-fact way,as you would about any important new experience, you can greatly reduce your child’s concern and help make the visit a pleasant one.You can help make your child’s first visit to the dentist a pleasant experience. During this check-up, we will examine the child’s teeth and gums for tooth decay and other problems. X-rays may be taken to make sure the facial bones and teeth are developing properly. If necessary, your child’s teeth will be professionally cleaned or a follow-up appointment for cleaning may be scheduled. We will also discuss important preventive home care for maintaining good oral health. It may be helpful to visit the dental office for a walk-through to meet the staff and familiarize your child with both the office and examination routine. We can do a lot to put your child at ease during that first visit. By scheduling regular dental visits by your child’s third birthday, you can help your child have strong, healthy teeth for a lifetime.


An increasingly popular treatment in dentistry is making it possible for kids to slip through childhood without a single cavity. When parents ask us what are the best ways to prevent their children from getting cavities,we often say “SEALANTS!” These act as a barrier between bacteria (the cause of decay) and the enamel on the teeth. The treatment uses plastic fluids that dentists paint on the biting surfaces of permanent molars soon after the teeth come in. Sealants are safe, dry in seconds, and last up to five years.Kids will still have to brush, floss and visit their dentists because the sealant won’t reach between the teeth, where cavities often develop. But, sealants can cut molar cavities by more than 50 percent,and can be especially helpful in areas without fluoridated water.

Please see our section on SEALANTS

Thumb Sucking

Sucking is one of a baby’s natural reflexes, much like grasping for objects. It is a normal infant reflex which makes a child feel secure and happy. However, when thumbsucking becomes a habit in early childhood, it may cause problems.Thumb-sucking or finger-sucking is a habit that occurs with many infants. Your child will usually give it up naturally by the age of four. If the sucking habit continues beyond the time when permanent teeth start to erupt, your child may develop crooked teeth and a malformed palate (roof of the mouth). This results from pressure applied by the thumb on the teeth and roof of the mouth. The severity of the problem depends on frequency, intensity, duration and also the position in which the thumb is placed in the mouth. The relationship between the upper and lower jaws may also be affected. Speech defects can occur from maligned teeth resulting from thumbsucking and/or finger-sucking.


The best prevention is to get your newborn to take up the pacifier instead of thumbsucking or finger-sucking. (Although prolonged use of the pacifier can lead to similar problems, it, at least, is not attached to the child and can be removed.) Children should be helped to give up the habit before they enter school to prevent teasing. Timing of treatment is important. Your child should be willing to give up thumbsucking. If your child is not willing to stop, therapy is not usually indicated. Pressure you apply to stop may only lead to resistance and lack of cooperation. Try again later. Give your child attention and understanding and gently discourage the habit. Reminders such as a band-aid on the thumb can help. Offer rewards (star on books, paisa coins, extra story) for days when your child is successful. Praise your child when successful. Take one step at a time. Encourage your child not to suck during one daytime activity, like Storytime or television watching. Gradually add another activity until daytime sucking is controlled.

After Daytime Sucking is controlled:

Help your child to give up the sucking habit during sleep. This is usually an involuntary process and a glove, sock, or thumb/finger guard can help stop the habit. If these considerations are not successful, see your dentist for further support. By the time your child’s permanent teeth begin to erupt (at around 6 years of age), it should be brought to their attention. Your dentist may have other suggestions such as a reminder bar that is placed in the upper mouth. Parents should keep in mind that the best way to get children to stop sucking their thumbs is to praise them when they are not doing it, instead of scolding them when they are. It is also important to focus on the fact that many children suck their thumbs for comfort, so think about why your child may feel anxious or upset. And don’t hesitate to ask your dentist for advice.


A baby tooth is sometimes lost prematurely because of tooth decay or injury. If this occurs before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt the nearby teeth can shift or drift into the space where the primary tooth use to be creating a lack of space in the jaw for the permanent teeth. The teeth in the other jaw may also move up or down to fill in the gap. If this crowding happens there may not be enough room for the new tooth to come in correctly, so it emerges lopsided or is not able to erupt at all. This crowded condition can make it more difficult :
– To clean increasing your child’s risk for tooth decay.
–  It can also make chewing difficult causing these teeth to wear down more quickly.
–  If left untreated, this condition may result in extensive orthodontic treatment.

Space Maintainer on Model

Surprisingly some baby teeth are not replaced by adult teeth until a child reaches 12 or 14 years old!The space maintainer is a small metal device that is custom fitted to your child’s mouth. It is firmly fixed in the mouth and will be removed when the permanent tooth is in it’s proper position.It may consist of a band attached to the tooth on one side of the space with a wire loop or spring bridging the gap to the tooth on the other side. They steady the remaining teeth, preventing movement until the permanent tooth takes it’s natural position.

  • Avoid sticky sweets and or chewing gum
  • Don’t tug or push on the space maintainer with your fingers or tongue
  • Keep it clean with brushing and flossing
  • Keep your 6 month check up appointments to monitor oral health

Should I clean my baby’s teeth?

Definitely. Even before the first tooth appears, use a soft, clean cloth to wipe your baby’s gums and cheeks after feeding. As soon as the first tooth appears, begin using a small, soft bristled tooth brush to clean the tooth after eating. Don’t cover the brush with toothpaste. Young children tend to swallow most of the toothpaste, and swallowing too much fluoridated toothpaste can cause permanent spots on their teeth called dental fluorosis.

I find brushing my child’s teeth awkward. Any suggestions?

Try having your child lie down. Put your child on your lap or on the floor, keeping his/her head steady with your legs. If your child is standing, have his/her back to you with their head tilted slightly and resting against your body. Have your child hold a mirror while you brush their teeth so your child can see what is being done.

How to brush your child’s teeth:

Every day plaque forms on the inner, outer, and chewing surface of teeth and the gums. Tooth brushing is one of the most effective ways to remove the plaque. The best kind of toothbrush to use is one with soft, round-tipped bristles. A child will need a smaller brush than an adult. Young children do not have the manual dexterity to brush properly. Your child will need your supervision and help brushing until he or she is 8-10 years old to ensure a thorough brushing has been done. When the bristles become bent or frayed, a new brush is needed.

Ten Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Preschoolers!

  • Start with a visit to your dentist. Here, a dental professional will teach your child the proper way to brush, using kid-friendly words.
  • Let your child pick out her own toothbrush and toothpaste. There are many colorful child-sized toothbrushes on the market, as well as toothpastes in flavours that appeal to kids. Just make sure that the toothbrush has soft or very soft, rounded bristles so they don’t damage your child’s gums or tooth enamel.
  • Be sure your child uses only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on his/her brush. Kids tend to swallow toothpaste, and it’s important that they not get too much fluoride. If your child doesn’t like toothpaste, don’t sweat it! You don’t want dental hygiene sessions to turn into a battle.
  • If you have more than one bathroom, keep a toothbrush and toothpaste for him/her in each one, to make brushing more convenient.
  • Using stickers or some other artwork, make little signs to put on your child’s plate at mealtime, or on her pillow before bed, reminding him/her to brush.
  • Brush your pet’s teeth, and let your child help – or at least watch. Not only does this reinforce the idea that clean teeth are important, it’s also good for your pet.
  • Praise their brushing efforts and the results they’re producing. Try saying “Your teeth are so sparkly!” or “Your breath smells so good!” They’ll be delighted that you noticed, and the positive effects of brushing will be reinforced.
  • Try sharing some books about dental hygiene with your child. Some good ones are Dragon Teeth and Parrot Beaks – Even Creatures Brush Their Teeth, by Almute Grohmann, and Just Going to the Dentist, by Mercer Mayer.
  • You and your child can make up silly toothbrushing songs set to familiar melodies like “The ABC Song,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” or “Row, Row, Row your Boat.”
  • And finally, because children learn by example, be sure your child sees you brushing and flossing your own teeth every single day. It’s good for them, and good for you!


Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Baby Bottle Syndrome, or Nursing Bottle Mouth are all terms used to describe a dental condition which involves the rapid decay of many or all the baby teeth of an infant or child. The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper front teeth. They are some of the first teeth to erupt and thus have the longest exposure time to the sugars in the bottle. The lower front teeth tend to be protected by the tongue as the child sucks on the nipple of the bottle or the breast. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is caused by frequent exposure of a child’s teeth for long periods of time to liquid containing sugars. When your baby falls asleep with: a bottle containing formula, milk or juice ,a pacifier dipped in honey or while breast feeding the liquid pools around the front teeth. During sleep, the bacteria living in every baby’s mouth, turns the milk sugar or other sugars to acid which causes the decay.

Severe Baby-Bottle Decay

Parents may not know there is a problem until serious damage has been done:
Oral checks should be performed by parents to detect early signs of the disease.
Brown spots along the gumline on your child’s teeth are signs which should alert you.
If your child prefers soft foods, frowns or cries when eating cold, sweet, or hard foods, they should be checked for tooth decay.

By the time tooth decay is noticed it may be too late and crowns, pulp therapy, or even extraction of the decayed teeth may be necessary. As a result, your child may suffer from long term disorders which include speech impediments, possible psychological damage, crooked or crowded teeth, and poor oral health. You can prevent this from happening to your child’s teeth by learning how to protect them. Clean your child’s teeth daily ,never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle filled with juice, milk, or formula (or when awake, sip on it for long periods of time as a pacifier) , start bottle weaning by at least a year , give your child plain water for thirst , make sure your child gets the fluoride needed to prevent decay & have regular dental visits for your child .
TIP: Cut back on sugary bottles by gradually watering them down until they are only water. Most children begin life with strong, healthy teeth. Help your child’s teeth stay that way. Your newborn is totally dependent upon you as a parent. The decisions you make will have a vital effect on your child’s dental future.