As fascinating as all that fetal development may be, a baby is not born with teeth that have protruded through the gums. That’s something that can take anywhere between six and 12 months. And it will be another two years at least before all of your child’s baby teeth are in. You have a lot going on during all that time, and something not to be overlooked is your baby’s dental care. What follows are some key steps in this pretty miraculous process.
Before there are teeth, there is teething. It starts around three months and it’s more uncomfortable than painful for a baby. Drooling increases, some gums get tender, and body temperature can rise (although a fever can also be an illness requiring medical care). Massaging your baby’s gums and letting your baby suck on cold wet washcloths are common and effective ways to manage the discomfort, so long as cleanliness of hands and cloth is priority number one. For body temperature rises, you can get your pediatrician to prescribe an appropriate dose of acetaminophen. Ibuprofen should not be used until six months of age.
The best part of it all is no part. In the case of many kids, there is little to no discomfort as their teeth come in.
By six months of age, your baby’s first tooth or teeth is likely to appear. Congratulations for getting this far. This is also the time when pediatric advice is to come into the dentist’s office for your baby’s first official dental exam. Up until now your pediatrician has, among many other things, checked for health conditions in and around the mouth. Now it’s time for actual evaluation of the teeth to see if structurally and developmentally the teeth and the mouth all pass muster. And that requires adding a dentist to your child’s health and wellness team.
A dentist will also give you at this time further advice on proper hygiene. Spoiler alert: Those tips are going to include something about using fluoride. Yes, the mineral is something to add around this time to your child’s health and wellness routine. Once teeth appear, you should start brushing your child’s teeth with a fluoride toothpaste.
There are many myths out there about fluoride usage. One fave: it’s used so the government can control your brain. Rather than give time or blog words to misinformation, here’s a list of things from the Campaign For Dental Health—a network of health professionals and scientists that provides public policy makers with evidence-based information. It’s the things about fluoride they feel you should know about. Let’s call it: The 8 Wonders of the Fluoride World
- Fluoride exists naturally in virtually all water supplies and even in various brands of bottled water. It is not a medication.
- There are proven benefits for public health that come from having the optimal level of fluoride in the water, such as stronger teeth over a lifetime when exposed to enough fluoride in our youth.
- In 2011, federal health officials offered a new recommended optimal level for water fluoridation: 0.7 parts per million.
- For most cities, every $1 invested in fluoridation saves $38 in unnecessary treatment costs.
- A 2011 Harvard study found no link between fluoride and bone cancer.
- An independent panel of 15 experts from the fields of science and public health reviewed
- Numerous studies concluded that fluoridation reduces tooth decay by 29%.
- Very high fluoride concentrations can lead to a condition called fluorosis, which is nearly unheard of in the U.S. and is mild. This condition does not cause pain, and does not affect the health or function of the teeth.
Kids, they grow up fast, and so do teeth. Get in touch with Dentalux today; we’re happy to make our second home your kids dental home for years to come.