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Your Baby's Dental Health

First steps, first words, and first teeth - When your baby starts hitting their first milestones its an exciting time. We are here to help you through all their dental health needs from their first tooth, to their first dental visit and beyond. 
 

When will my baby start teething?

It’s a common question most parents ask, and generally babies’ teeth start to erupt (come through the gums) between 6 and 9 months of age. Teething is an individual thing, so you shouldn’t worry if your little one’s teeth appear earlier or later.

Although most babies don’t start teething until about 6-9 months, their teeth actually begin to form as buds in the first trimester of pregnancy. During pregnancy the teeth calcify as a result of minerals provided by the mother. These teeth are also known as deciduous, primary or milk teeth. You can ignore that old myth about mothers losing calcium during pregnancy though!

Teething can be an uncomfortable experience for your child but there are ways to relieve the pain and discomfort. Using a combination of chilled face washers, dummies or teething rings can often help ease any irritation. Remember, these need to be chilled and not frozen. If using teething rings, its also important to ensure they can be easily sterilised and they are BPA free (check the packaging).

There are also pain relief gels and medications that can be used during teething. Consult with your dentist to find the most appropriate option for your child.  
 
QUICK TIP: Try to avoid honey or jam to ease teething discomfort as they can increase the chance of decay.
 

When to go to the dentist

The first visit to the dentist is a big step in a child’s life but not a daunting one. Start taking your child to the dentist early. Taking them along to your dental appointments is a great way of getting them familiar with the sights, sounds and smells of the dental practice.
 
It’s recommended that your child’s first dental appointment occurs once their first tooth has erupted or at 12 months old (whichever comes first). Other times at which your child should visit the dentist is if you notice any of the following changes:
  • White, mottled patches along the gum line
  • Brown areas
  • Red, puffy or bleeding gums
  • A change in the colour of a tooth if they aren’t teething (could be a result of trauma (knock, accident or bump)
  • Discharge from around a tooth
  • Bad breath


Healthy Habits for Babies

Establishing a good oral health routine early in life is important. As soon as that first tooth erupts you should start brushing your child’s teeth. Use a clean, damp, soft cloth wrapped around your finger to get them used to teeth cleaning. Bacteria in the mouth can start to cause decay so brushing/cleaning twice a day is important. It’s also a great idea to start flossing early to get them used to the feeling. Your dentist can help you learn the correct technique, and show you tricks to make it easier to floss your child’s teeth.

Getting used to a oral health routine is important from an early age. Starting to get your little one familiar with brushing, eating healthy, and the dentist will help maintain good oral health during their transition through early childhood. Keep an eye out for next week's Maven Blog when we give you some advice about caring for the teeth of your toddler!
 

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