Parents love to note every milestone of their child's development, including the emergence of baby teeth. The bottom two central incisors are usually the first to show, in case you're wondering what baby teeth come in first. But wait; there's more!
You'll want to protect your child's smile, so it's important to take proper care of this first set of teeth. This will involve caring for teething gums and keeping the mouth clean, along with avoiding harmful practices and making sure to get regular dental checkups.
Order of Appearance
According to the American Dental Association, the first teeth to come in are the two sets in the middle of the mouth, called central incisors. The bottom set of central incisors appears first and is followed by the top set. Afterward, the side front teeth emerge, earning their title: lateral incisors. The first molars, those in the back of the mouth, follow the lateral incisors.
Next to appear are the canines, the pointy, doglike teeth that lie between the lateral incisors and the molars. The second molars appear last, completing the set.
Caring for Teething Gums
The filling in of teeth may make the gums sore, so your child may be fussy. When this occurs, rubbing the gums lightly with your finger or letting the baby chew on a chilled teething ring may reduce the discomfort. If your child is younger than 2 years old, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises against the use of products containing benzocaine.
Caring for Baby Teeth
Baby teeth represent a big step for your little one, enabling infants to start chewing, smiling and forming basic speech. But with a new set of pearly whites, it's important to make sure the teeth receive the right care. Clean the gums with a piece of gauze or a moist, soft cloth after each meal. Start brushing your baby's teeth after the first tooth comes in using a soft-bristle brush designed for infants, such as the My First Colgate™ toothbrush. Brush with water instead of a fluoridated toothpaste until 2 years of age. Once they're able to spit, they can brush their teeth with supervision using a pea-size amount of toothpaste.
Practices to Avoid
Many people don't realize that cavities can start early in life, even in infancy. To control this issue, the Mayo Clinic advocates limiting the amount of time that a child's teeth are exposed to beverages containing sugar, such as formula, juice or milk. In addition, don't put your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup that contains anything but water, and avoid such practices as dipping your baby's pacifier in honey or other sweeteners.
Baby's First Dental Checkup
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your baby's first dental visit take place at some point between the appearance of the first tooth and the child's first birthday. During this checkup, a dentist can check for cavities and other issues affecting the teeth, such as thumb-sucking.
It's also an opportunity for you to discuss any teeth-related issues and get advice tailored to your child's individual needs.
Parents like to prepare for every aspect of their child's care, which includes knowing what baby teeth come in first and what to do when teeth start to come in. These few recommendations will go far in helping your child start life with healthy teeth and a beautiful smile. Remember that good oral care starts in infancy.