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All About Baby Teeth

All About Baby Teeth

Baby teeth, known as primary teeth, usually starts to erupt through the gums between 6 months to one year of age. The tooth buds actually start to form under the gums around the second trimester of pregnancy. All 20 baby teeth usually erupt by age three.


When baby teeth start to emerge through the gum, it is called “teething.” It can make your baby cranky as the gums can be sore and tender, and can make your baby drool more than usual. To alleviate teething pain you can gently rub the baby’s gums with a clean finger, a wet gauze or a small, cool spoon. You can also give a rubber teething ring or a cool washcloth for the baby to chew on.

How to Clean Baby Teeth

You should start cleaning your baby’s gums even before the first baby tooth erupts. You can use a clean, damp washcloth to gently clean your baby’s gums after every feeding. As soon as the first baby tooth comes in, you can use a baby toothbrush with water or with a rice grain amount of toothpaste. Make sure your lift the baby’s lips to clean around the gum line.

Baby Teeth Eruption Schedule

Note that every child is different, but the chart1 below shows the general order of appearance.

Importance of Baby Teeth

Baby teeth are very important to your child’s health and development. They help him or her chew, speak and smile. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby teeth are still susceptible to cavities. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Early Childhood Caries.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected. One common cause is the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. Tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby.

Tooth decay is a disease that can begin with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the mother (or primary caregiver) to the infant. These bacteria are passed through the saliva. When the mother puts the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth, or cleans a pacifier in her mouth, the bacteria can be passed to the baby.

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay2

Do not share saliva with the baby

After each feeding, clean your child’s gums and teeth

Supervise brushing until age 6 or 7

Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Do not fill the bottle with juice or soft drinks.

Infants should finish their bedtime and nap time bottles before going to bed

Do not dip the pacifier in sugar or honey

Encourage your child to drink from a cup by his/her first birthday

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