PRIMARY (BABY) TEETH
Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. Your child may begin erupting teeth as early as four months old. The first baby teeth to erupt are usually the lower front teeth (central incisors). Next you will probably see the upper front teeth. Your child will most likely have all twenty primary teeth by age three.
For infants, use wet gauze or a clean washcloth to wipe the plaque from teeth and gums. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water. Begin daily brushing as soon as the child’s first tooth erupts. By age four or five, children are usually able to brush their own teeth with supervision. Proper brushing is recommended at least twice a day. Flossing removes plaque between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing should begin when teeth begin to touch. You may wish to floss the child’s teeth until they can develop enough coordination to do it by themselves. Whatever it takes, it’s worth it!WHY ARE THE PRIMARY (BABY) TEETH SO IMPORTANT?
It is very important to maintain the health of the primary teeth. Neglected cavities can and frequently do lead to problems which affect developing permanent teeth. Primary teeth, or baby-teeth are important for (1) proper chewing and eating, (2) providing space for permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, and (3) permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. Primary teeth affect the development of speech and add to an attractive appearance. While the front four teeth only last until six to seven years of age, the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until your child is between ten and thirteen.
Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until approximately age 21. Most adults have 28 permanent teeth, or up to 32 if all wisdom teeth develop.