Take steps to a perfect smile for baby

Great teeth perfect your sweetie’s smile. Paediatric dentist Dr Tabitha Chng from Thomson Specialist Dentistry tells you how.

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When do babies get their first teeth?

Baby’s first tooth, usually a bottom incisor, can be expected at around 6 months of age. Children should have a total of 20 baby teeth by age 3, including canines and molars.

Which teeth are the most important? 

All baby teeth are important! Besides chewing, teeth play great importance in the development of speech and oral-facial muscles. A pleasant smile boosts self-confidence and plays a part in the ability to socialise. By the way, the last baby tooth may only fall out around 11 to 12 years old.

How should I take care of my baby's teeth?

You should start cleaning your baby’s mouth even before any teeth erupt in it. Use a soft clean moist cloth or tooth wipes to wipe your baby’s lips, gums and cheeks ― this not only removes milk residue, it helps him get used to the sensation of being cleaned. Once teeth erupt in the mouth, use a soft bristled toothbrush. Remember: Parents should help with toothbrushing until your child is about age 7!

All baby teeth are important! Besides chewing, teeth play great importance in the development of speech and oral-facial muscles.

How about toothpaste? 

Parents are most concerned about the ingestion of fluoride in the toothpaste. Fluoride is an important ingredient that helps prevent dental cavities. Before a child can spit well, a fluoride-free toothpaste will suffice. Most children are able to spit fairly well by 3 or 4 years of age, when he should switch to toothpaste that has fluoride.

My baby keeps moving when I clean! Any tips?

Babies are expected to move about! You may have to try different positions to find one that suits your baby (and you!) best. Above all, safety is of top concern. In the early days, always support your baby’s head and neck well. My favourite cleaning positions include cradling him in my arms or have him lie down on a pillow or in my lap. Be patient. In time, your baby will soon get used to cleaning. If you are still unsure, ask your paediatric dentist demonstrate it to you at your next dental visit.

Turn the page to find out when bubba visit the dentist for the first time!

Photo: iStock

Contributed by: Paediatric dentist Dr Tabitha Chng from Thomson Specialist Dentistry