Yes, the sweet little baby in your arms already has 20 teeth forming underneath his or her pink gums, like tulip bulbs waiting to sprout. Although the process isn’t as poetic as flowers, involving lots of drool, red swollen gums, crankiness…believe it or not, little is known about the causes and management of the presumed discomfort.
There is no exact formula for when baby teeth come out but we can say that, in general, they start to show through from about 6-8 months old and will just continue to pop out one after another until your baby is saying NO, throwing things and refusing to eat the green stuff on her plate — about 3 years for me… Ugh!
From about 5 years old, the tooth fairy (a little mouse, in France) will make her first visit. Baby teeth need to stay healthy even though they do fall out to give way to your permanent teeth, which make an appearance around the age of 6. Keeping a healthy mouth will help ensure good dental habits for the future and hopefully, avoid cavities!
Why it is important to keep Baby Teeth healthy:
- To smile at their parents
- Cavities in a baby teeth can affect the permanent teeth.
- They save the space for the adult teeth.
- To speak properly
- To develop good oral hygiene and habits
Simply wet a clean washcloth to massage your baby’s gums and first teeth and then when new teeth appear, brush two times a day to keep them clean.
Each child grows at a different pace. If there are no baby teeth emerging after a year, don’t worry. Just take your tot to see the dentist for a check-up. Most likely everything is all right and you just need to be patient. When in doubt —even a little — pick up the phone and call.
Remember, babies aren’t born with the bacteria that cause tooth decay. You, grandpa, your dog, siblings… all pass on bacteria with kisses and food sharing.
By the way, in case you wondered, in France the tooth fairy doesn’t exit. Instead there is a little mouse (le petit souris) that hides money under your child’s pillow during the night. Explain that one!