Every baby is different, which means every baby’s first tooth is likely to appear at a different time. However, most babies start sprouting teeth at around 6 months of age. It’s perfect timing for weaning as his little chompers will help him tackle his new food challenges, although it’s good to know he doesn’t actually need teeth to start weaning!
While some babies may have a number of teeth by 6 months some babies are even born with teeth – others won’t have a first tooth until they’ve reached their first birthday.
Don’t worry if your baby is a late or early teether – the most important thing is how you look after them.
And even though your baby’s first set of teeth aren’t going to be around that long and have a much shorter shelf life than his adult ones, you mustn’t overlook their importance.
4 reasons why first teeth need looking after
- They have much thinner enamel than adult teeth and so are much more vulnerable to bacterial attack and decay
- They pave the way for the growth and development of your child’s adult teeth
- They’re helpful for chewing food
- They help develop speech – perfect if you’re trying to get the elusive ‘mum’ word from him!
So when should you start brushing?
Dentists agree that you should start brushing as soon as your baby’s first tooth arrives. It really is never too early to start introducing the idea of brushing teeth.
The best way to brush
- Choose a children’s toothbrush with a nice small head and soft nylon bristles
- Add a small smear of children’s toothpaste onto the brush
- When brushing, make sure you are very gentle
- Brush behind the teeth and onto the gums too
- You should brush your baby’s teeth twice a day to set a good brushing routine early on
What to do if your baby doesn’t like brushing
If your baby really isn’t keen and brushing seems a bit of an uphill battle, try doing it at a different time of day. Or sit somewhere other than the bathroom to relax your baby.
When do you make your baby’s first dentist appointment
Again, start early. 79 per cent of parents don’t take babies to the dentist within the first year and yet it’s vital that you know how to look after your baby’s teeth and gums as soon as that first appears.
You can make visiting the dentist more relaxed by taking your baby with you to a few of your own check-ups. That way he’ll get used to the environment, whizzy noises and smells. From your baby’s first appointment it’s important to carry on having regular check-ups, as recommended by your dentist.
Dentist Tina Tanna shares her three first tooth top tips
- Drooling, red cheeks and lots of biting are signs your baby’s first teeth are on their way
- Start brushing as soon as teeth start to come through. It’s not going to take more than a few seconds.
- Getting that routine of twice a day from the beginning is best
Did you know?
Babies’ teeth begin to develop before they are born, but in most cases don’t come through until they’re between 6 and 12 months old