Baby teeth are critical to your child's long-term oral health. They help children eat, speak, and keep their jaw aligned by providing space for when their permanent teeth come in.
When Do Babies Start Teething?
Babies are born with all 20 primary teeth below their gum line. On average, babies will get their first tooth anywhere from 6 to 12 months but there is no specific age when teething starts. The first teeth that usually erupt are the top and bottom front two teeth. When your baby’s first tooth comes in, they likely will have sore/tender gums, causing them to be more fussy. Most children will have all of their primary teeth by the age of 3.
If your child has their first tooth or is nearing their first birthday, they should have their first visit to the dentist. Our experienced team of pediatric dental professionals would love to see your child for their first visit! Learn more about first visits for children and access new patient forms using the link below.
What are common teething symptoms?
Every child is different, as are their responses when they start teething. Below are some common symptoms you’ll notice if your baby is already teething or is likely to start soon:
- swollen gums
- increased irritability and crying
- increased drooling
- less desire to eat solid foods
- biting and chewing
- bringing their hands to their mouth
- cheek rubbing and ear pulling
- disturbed sleep
Symptoms that are not associated with teething:
- fever (higher than 101 F)
- cough and congestion
If your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms, they should see their pediatrician.
What are dentist-recommend baby teething remedies?
- Gently massage your child’s gums with a clean finger, applying light pressure to the gumline.
- Use a cold—not frozen—rubber teething ring or necklace. Avoid liquid filled teething rings or plastic objects that could break.
- Feed your child soft and cold foods, like yogurt or applesauce.
- Keep their face dry. Extra drooling is a common side-effect of teething, keeping your child’s face dry helps reduce irritation and rash on their face.
Do NOT use topical numbing gels containing benzocaine or lidocaine if your child is under the age of 2.
In 2018, the FDA issued a safety announcement stating: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that over-the-counter (OTC) oral drug products containing benzocaine should not be used to treat infants and children younger than 2 years. These products carry serious risks and provide little to no benefits for treating oral pain, including sore gums in infants due to teething.”
When should I start brushing my child's teeth?
Parents commonly wonder when to start brushing baby teeth. We recommend that you start brushing their baby teeth as soon as their first tooth comes in. Brush their teeth twice a day, using a small amount of toothpaste—approximately the size of a grain of rice. It is important to keep baby teeth cavity free. The bacteria that causes cavities in baby teeth stay in the mouth and can cause cavities in permanent teeth.
Just because baby teeth will eventually fall out, doesn’t mean that they’re not important. Not only do baby teeth help kids eat and speak, they also hold space in the jawline where permanent teeth will come in.
You can help care for your child’s mouth before their teeth come in by wiping your baby’s gums after each feeding and before bedtime, and avoiding cleaning pacifiers with your mouth.
Questions About Baby Teeth?
If you have any questions about baby teeth contact us, request an appointment for your child, or explore the other pediatric dental services we offer using the links below.