Your baby is growing before your eyes. They're starting to giggle. They're starting to recognize you. And they're starting to teethe. With teething comes, you guessed it, teeth. And that means that proper oral care for their teeth and gums is now on your checklist. It also means that you should know how baby teeth grow and transition to adult teeth. The more you understand your baby's oral health, the better you can care for it. It's not rocket science. It's dental care. Well — baby dental care for now.
Do Baby Teeth Have Roots?
While they aren't permanent, baby teeth are important. They're smaller, and there's less of them, but they have the same structure as adult teeth. All of their baby teeth are already in their oral cavity, just waiting to erupt. And they help your little one break down solid foods as well as aid with speaking, whenever that may be. Like permanent adult teeth, baby teeth are susceptible to tooth decay, as noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The acid in milk and sugary juice isn't exactly the right play partner for your baby. Thus, the sooner you start an oral hygiene routine with your baby, the better their oral health will be.
Yes, baby teeth have roots, just like adult teeth. They're under the gums with the teeth waiting to burst onto the scene. Once the teeth erupt, the roots hold on to the jawbone. You should expect to start seeing their pearly whites around 6 months of age. There are 20 baby teeth and 32 adult teeth. Then when they turn around 6 or 7, those baby teeth will start to fall out to naturally make room for their adult counterpart. And when the adult teeth erupt, their roots will also cling to the jawbone.
A proper oral care routine will help you and your baby get into the habit early. The AAP has some recommendations and tips for keeping your baby's teeth happy and healthy:
- Take good care of your oral care while pregnant
- Implement an oral hygiene routine as early as possible for your baby's gums and teeth
- Don't give your baby a bottle or food in bed
- Avoid using a bottle as a pacifier
- Be sure the water your child drinks contains fluoride
- Have your child drink from a regular cup as soon as possible
- Make sure they drink water when thirsty
- Regulate the sweet and sticky foods in your child's diet
- Ideally, refrain from giving your child juice until they're 1-year old
- Have your child see your dentist before they turn 1
As soon as your child's baby teeth start to make their presence known, it's time to take action. Beginning their oral care routine early, maintaining a healthy diet, and relying on good parental sense will go a long way in your child's oral health. And that will always be at the root of the matter.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.