A smiling baby is the beginning of the end of the newborn stage, and it marks your child's first attempts at real social interaction. Babies smile from the day they're born, but they don't begin to smile in reaction to their environment until they are about two months old. By starting to smile, your child is showing that he can see you and that he is starting to mimic facial expressions.
Those baby smiles also mean that your child is beginning to understand how to tell the difference between emotional states. The baby smiles and gets one in return, thus encouraging more smiles. This also helps your child learn cause and effect and how to manipulate his environment.
Of course, once your baby starts smiling, those tiny baby teeth are only a few months away. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), your baby's first tooth will erupt between six to eight months of age and will be the two front teeth on the bottom and on the top. It's important to start brushing your child's teeth as soon as that first tooth erupts through the gums, and you can even get your infant used to the sensation before that by wiping the gums with a wet gauze pad.
It's also a good idea to take your child to the dentist when that first tooth appears so that your practitioner can get a good visual picture of your child's oral health. The ADA and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that the first visit should take place when the first tooth erupts in the mouth and no later than one to two years of age. This will help your little one get used to the overall experience of the dentist.
That first smile and first tooth is just the beginning. Soon your smiling baby will be laughing, cooing, and talking with a full set of 20 baby teeth before you know it.
Learn more about your infant's mouth in the Colgate Oral Care resources.