Often I find parents present to the clinic with their young children after noticing something “different” in their developing mouth. It’s useful to have some basic knowledge about your children’s, and how to care for their developing mouth.
Baby teeth start to form in the jaw bone before birth, but usually erupts at about six months of age, but can occur as early as birth or as late as the child’s first birthday. Children usually have a total of 20 primary teeth- with the first adult tooth usually erupting at the age of six.
Most babies are irritable when new teeth break through the gums (“teething”). This may often be coupled with:
– frequent crying
– reddening of the cheeks
– sucking and gnawing on objects/ toys
To help relieve the discomfort, the Australian Dental Association recommends rubbing your baby’s gum with a clean finger, alternatively, giving your baby a dummy, teething ring or wet washcloth to bite on. These can also be chilled in the fridge (not freezer!) to help manage swelling and pain.
Signs and symptoms should disappear over several days, however, if a fever becomes prolonged see your dentist.
2. Thumb Sucking
Thumb sucking is a natural habit that most babies and young children grow out of by 2-4 years of age. However, children who continue to suck after the permanent teeth have appeared risk the improper development of the jaw bones and teeth.
If this is the case for your child, encouraging your child to give up thumb sucking by setting goals and rewarding them may assist in prevention of these issues. Again, if there are any further questions regarding your child’s tooth development, please feel free to contact us.