Time for Baby’s First Tooth? 7 Facts Every Parent must know !

  1. Timing of appearance of the first teeth
  • The appearance of first teeth is considered as one of the major milestones in a baby’s life. A whole set of deciduous dentition (milk teeth) consists of 20 teeth, of which the lower front teeth (lower central incisors) holds the first place to appear in the mouth and by 3 years of age most babies develop almost all the teeth.
  • Most babies start getting their first teeth by 6-7 months of age. However, some late bloomers may even get them by 12-15 months of age. Consult your pediatric dentist, if your child fails to get their first tooth even later than this age.
  • A usual timeline for baby teeth eruption, goes like this:

2.  Make your child’s first dental appointment prior to the appearance of the first tooth

  • Most parents think a dental appointment is usually only necessary if/when there is a problem with the teeth. However, did you know that American Academy of Pediatrics recommend visiting your child’s pediatric dentist as early as 6 months – 1 year.
  • The Pediatric dentist will guide you on the proper oral hygiene maintenance of the child and the relevant dental problems in certain ages and their various prevention methods.
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3. Your Child’s Oral Health is a gateway to Their Overall Health

  • Oral hygiene is extremely important. Typically, by 3 months of age babies start exploring the world by their mouths. This is also the time when they would salivate more and start exploring their mouths with their fingers.
  • As unlikely as it may sound, the gum pads and the tongue of an infant also harbor bacteria even before the appearance of teeth. An unhealthy mouth is a gateway to a lot of other diseases in the child which is why it becomes important to regularly clean the gum pads with either a wet washcloth, clean finger or a finger brush. 
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4. The Teething Menace

  • Teething is that period in the life of infants and toddlers which causes uneasiness and certain health problems during the time of eruption of their first milk teeth. It mostly starts around the period of 4-7 months of age. Although, nothing serious but I have had plenty of young parents come with the concern of constant irritability or systemic discomfort in their child at this stage which confuses them.
  • So, Let me break this down to you. There are plenty of things which you could do to ease your child of their teething discomfort and save yourself some trouble. See Managing the Teething Menace to know more.
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5. Brushing Twice a day

  • Brushing your child’s teeth must start right from the appearance of their first tooth in the mouth. It is extremely important to develop a healthy oral hygiene habit right from the beginning. Brush your child’s teeth at least twice daily to avoid the build up of germs in the mouth. You can use a flavoured fluoridated toothpaste to make toothbrushing more acceptable to your child. Moreover, Fluoride makes your teeth stronger. Contact your Pediatric dentist to know more about the type of toothpastes and oral hygiene practices for your child according to their age.
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6. Don’t leave the bottle in the babies mouth

  • Never ever let your baby drift off to dreamland with the bottle in their mouth. The leftover milk pools up in their mouth and may cause tooth decay and cavities at a rate faster than you could imagine. Always, wash your babies mouth with a wet washcloth or give them few sips of water after feeding. Ask your pediatric dentist about good breastfeeding and weaning practices.
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7. Avoid sweetened drinks, salt and bovine (cow’s) milk for babies till 1 year of age.

  •  Avoid giving food/drinks to your babies mixed with sweeteners. Sugar does more harm than good. Avoid giving fruit juices to babies upto 1 year of age. Your infant does not need juice right now and it is best if you avoid sugary fruit juices and sodas. 
  • Every Paediatric syrup has huge amounts of sugar in it so as to make it palatable for the child. If you can’t avoid syrup medicines, simply make them drink water afterwards or clean their mouth with wet washcloth, finger brush or clean finger. This would minimise the bacterial action and keep their mouth germ & cavity free.
  • According to recent studies, babies till 1 year of age DO NOT need additional salt and cow’s milk in their diet. The amount of sodium your baby  needs at this age, is easily fulfilled by the solids they eat and also through the breastmilk. Their absolutely no need to feed them with extra salt.
  • Even though 6 months – 12 months of age is the weaning period for babies, but avoid substituting your Breastmilk with bovine(cow’s) milk. Children don’t have enough enzymes at this age to digest the heavy milk proteins. However, you can easily substitute it with fresh curd.
  • Make sure you clean your baby’s mouth inside thoroughly after every meal, to keep their mouth germ free and healthy.


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