Back in the day, babies have 4 teeth at 12 months. Things have changed. These days, some babies have as much as 16 teeth at 12 months. Some babies start teething around four months, while some babies wait until a year old before that first tooth pops through.
What comes first?
Every baby is different but the most common order for teeth to make an appearance is:
- Bottom front teeth (lower incisors): 4 to 6 months.
- Top front teeth (upper incisors): 6 to 8 months
- Either side of top front teeth (top lateral incisors): 9 to 11 months
- Either side of bottom front teeth (bottom lateral incisors): 10 to 12 months
- Back teeth (molars): 12 to 16 months
- Canines (cuspid): 16-20 months
- Second molars: between 20-30 months
By 10 months, most babies are teething. Most mums find teething rings help ease the discomfort, either using a traditional ring or a gel-filled shape. Many gel-filled teethers can be kept in the fridge so they’re ready to soothe hot, sore gums. Please, don’t put any teethers in the freezer, because the hard gel or cold surface temperature could hurt your baby’s gums. Some toys are designed for teething babies, but some babies just prefer chewing a muslin, flannel or your (clean) finger!
The right time to start dental care
You should start dental care as soon as your baby is born. You should start cleaning the gum even before the teeth start appearing. 10 months old is the perfect age to get baby used to the idea of using a toothbrush. There are several toothbrushes along with gentle toothpastes on the market that are designed for babies from birth to age two. Put a tiny blob of toothpaste on the brush and very softly brush the new teeth. If baby doesn’t like you brushing his teeth, just allow him or her to hold the toothbrush and chew on it. Don’t worry if some toothpaste gets swallowed – these special toothpastes are made to be swallowed by babies!
Why early dental care is important
Even baby teeth can start to decay from food debris, just like adult teeth. Some toddlers can lose teeth to decay as early as three or four. Losing teeth early on affects the growth of the jaw and the later development of their adult teeth, so early dental care is vital. Plus the longer you wait to teach them how to clean their teeth, the harder it will be.
Establish a routine
Morning and evening brushing will save you a lot of hassle as your baby grows older. Your 10 month old is happy to imitate everything you do, so when you’re cleaning your teeth in the morning, give baby a toothbrush to copy what you’re doing. Then after the evening bath, devote a few minutes to teeth cleaning again. Of course, your 10 month old is still growing new teeth so don’t brush a sore gum or a tooth that is just emerging. The aim of buying a baby toothbrush and toothpaste is to make it a part of your baby’s daily routine just like bathing, putting on clean clothes and brushing their hair. Your baby’s teeth will be healthy from the start and, as your child grows older, it’s unlikely they will suffer from tooth decay or gum disease.