Baby Teeth-They Fall Out, So Why Are They So Important?

Dr. Josephine Lee is Federal Way’s favorite family dentist!  To celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month, here are some key facts about baby teeth.

When your child is born, all 20 baby teeth are already there, just waiting for their big day.  Those baby teeth will begin to emerge starting at about 6-8 months(sometimes sooner) through the first 3 years.

Baby Teeth ChartHere’s a chart to show the approximate timeline for your child’s teeth to emerge.  Starting at 4-6 years, these baby teeth will begin to fall out, making way for the permanent teeth.  Even though your child’s baby teeth will eventually fall out, they play a very important part in the lifelong dental health of your son or daughter.  It’s up to you to make sure they stay healthy and cavity-free!

Baby teeth are important because they:

  • Act as placeholders for adult teeth
  • Help with chewing
  • Help with proper speech development
  • Give your child the opportunity to learn a lifetime of good oral hygiene

When should I schedule my child’s first visit with Dr. Lee?

You can schedule your baby’s first appointment in our Federal Way office as soon as the first tooth emerges.  We suggest you schedule this first dental appointment by the time your child is a year old.

My child is a year old and still does not have his or her first tooth.  Should I be concerned?

While most children start to have teeth emerge before they are 12 months old, it’s not uncommon for baby teeth to take longer.  You are welcome to schedule time with Dr. Lee to be certain there is no underlying medical issue, but there’s no harm in waiting a few months before taking this step.  Chances are, that first tooth will show up soon!  Our office manager’s daughter, Jordan, did not have her first baby tooth emerge until 13 months old, and has never had a problem with any of them!

My baby only has a few teeth.  How should I care for them?

Use a soft-bristled, infant tooth brush with a tiny amount of NON-Fluoride toothpaste once a day at bedtime.  This helps eliminate bacteria from the teeth.  Bacteria is the culprit that can cause tooth decay.  This will also get your child used to the idea of brushing.  Wait until your son or daughter is at least three years old AND knows not to swallow toothpaste before using a fluoride toothpaste.

If you have questions about caring for those all important baby teeth, please call Avalon Family Dentistry at 253-941-6365.  After all, that’s why we are here – we’re happy to serve you and your family!

 

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