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Children have their own schedule for teething. Most children begin teething at about six months and most “baby” teeth are in by three years of age. The bottom front teeth usually appear first, followed by the top front teeth.

Babies and Teething

Although many babies have no teething problems, teething can cause some discomfort, making the baby irritable or fussy. The baby may also not want to eat. Teething does not cause fevers. If your baby has a fever or diarrhea while teething, treat it appropriately as you would at any other time. If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s fever or diarrhea, call the BC NurseLine or your health care provider.

Your baby may feel better if allowed to chew on a clean, chilled teething ring or wet face cloth. Teething cookies or biscuits are not a good choice because they can stick to your baby’s teeth and cause tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth. This can be passed onto the baby. If family members have healthy teeth, they will pass on less cavity-causing bacteria to the baby. Your baby’s teeth can start to decay from the first day they appear. The decay starts along the gum line behind the top front teeth, which makes it hard to see. It spreads to the front of these teeth and can often affect all your baby’s teeth.

    Soothers or pacifiers are sometimes given to infants during rest, sleep or other times when the baby has finished feeding but still wants to continue sucking. If you choose to give your baby a soother, here are a few tips:

  • Ensure that breast-feeding is well established.
  • Choose a soother that is the right size for your baby’s mouth.
  • Check the soother nipple often; if it is sticky, cracked or torn, throw it away.
  • Clean the soother with water. You can infect your child with germs that cause tooth decay if you put the baby’s soother in your own mouth to clean it.
  • Soothers dipped in honey or other sweet substances can cause tooth decay.
  • Soothers are not recommended once all of the baby teeth have grown in, usually at about three years of age.

Toddlers Healthy Tooth Care

Healthy baby teeth and good dental care are very important. Healthy baby teeth will help your child look good, eat well and learn how to speak clearly. Baby teeth guide the healthy development of permanent teeth in their correct positions. Some baby teeth are not replaced by permanent teeth until the age of 12 or 13. Your child should have all of his or her first set of teeth, or “baby” teeth, by three years of age. In total, twenty teeth should appear – 10 in the top jaw and 10 in the bottom jaw.

Brush your child’s teeth using toothpaste that contains fluoride twice a day, in the morning and before going to sleep at night.

Start with a smear of toothpaste containing fluoride and work up to a “pea-sized” amount on a soft child’s toothbrush once all the teeth come in. It is a good idea to gently brush your child’s tongue to remove bacteria that forms there. Parents need to brush their children’s teeth until they are able to write their own name. Brushing gives you the chance to lift the lip to check for any changes to your child’s teeth including new teeth, plaque, white spots, and brown spots.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends regular dental visits starting six months after your child’s first tooth appears or erupts. Your child’s first dental visit is a good time to discuss daily dental care, fluoride, and eating habits. If you have a concern about your child’s teeth, make an appointment to see your dentist or a dental professional.

Children in families who receive income assistance or MSP premium assistance are eligible for basic dental care through the Healthy Kids Program. Information provided by the BCHealthGuide. For more information check out the Canadian Dental Assocation website.

Celebrate the Loss of a First Tooth  
Losing a first tooth is an important sign that your child is growing up! Create a special Simile Certificate for your children to celebrate this special milestone. Go to www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/teaching_resources/smile_certificate/

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