Aside from the first words and first steps, there are few infant milestones as exciting as the first tooth. All the drooling, gumming, and general crankiness are worth it when you finally see that little bit of white poking through the gums when your baby smiles. Below, we’ll go over everything you need to know about baby teeth, including when they come in and how to take care of them.
Baby Teeth Eruption
The first tooth your child gets is likely to be one of the lower central incisors. That said, it’s important to note that sometimes it’s not—and that’s perfectly fine too! One of the most common questions parents of babies ask is about teeth erupting in the “wrong” order, but it’s not unheard of for teeth to erupt differently than outlined in the chart below.
It’s also worth mentioning that the ages listed below are averages. Some babies will get their teeth earlier, while others will get them later. Usually, this is dictated by genetics, so if you or your partner started teething early or late, your child might be an outlier too. This is also normal and, in most cases, nothing to be concerned about. During your child’s first dental visit, we can answer any questions you might have.
When to Expect Baby Teeth to Erupt
Lower central incisors – 6 to 10 months
Upper central incisors – 8 to 12 months
Upper lateral incisors – 9 to 13 months
Lower lateral incisors – 10 to 16 months
Upper first molars – 12 to 19 months
Lower first molars – 14 to 18 months
Upper canines – 16 to 22 months
Lower canines – 17 to 23 months
Lower second molars – 23 to 31 months
Upper second molars – 25 to 33 months
If your child starts teething late, they’ll likely begin to lose their baby teeth later too; early teethers will start noticing loose teeth earlier.
Taking Care of Your Baby’s Teeth
Taking care of your baby’s teeth begins with caring for their gums. Even before their teeth erupt, you should clean their gums morning and night with a wet washcloth. This isn’t just good for their oral health, but it also gets them used to the feeling of having their mouths cleaned.
As soon as you see their first tooth poking through the gums, it’s time to start using a toothbrush. We recommend either a traditional baby toothbrush or a silicone brush. Brush twice a day using a dab of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice.
What your child eats and drinks also plays an important role in their dental health. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle; when babies fall asleep with bottles in their mouths, the liquid can pool around the teeth and lead to decay. Choose milk, water, or formula (depending on your baby’s age) rather than fruit juice and serve them a well-rounded diet full of healthy whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and foods rich in calcium and protein.