The first few years of a child's life are filled with milestones and moments of discovery. One of the most important milestones that parents and caregivers should pay attention to is the eruption of a child's first teeth. Many parents may not realize that their child's first teeth are just as important as their permanent teeth, but neglecting to care for them can have long-term consequences.
The eruption of a child's first teeth typically begins around six months of age, although some children may experience teething earlier or later than this. The first teeth to erupt are usually the bottom two front teeth, followed by the top two front teeth. Over time, the rest of the baby teeth will begin to emerge until the child has a full set of 20 primary teeth.
While these baby teeth may seem insignificant since they will eventually fall out, they play a crucial role in a child's oral health and development. Baby teeth help children to eat and speak properly, and they also serve as placeholders for the adult teeth that will eventually replace them.
Moreover, baby teeth are just as vulnerable to decay and disease as permanent teeth. In fact, tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, and it can lead to pain, infection, and even tooth loss. Furthermore, decay in baby teeth can lead to issues with permanent teeth as well. If a baby tooth is lost too early due to decay or other factors, the surrounding teeth may shift into the empty space and make it difficult for the adult tooth to emerge properly.
Fortunately, there are several things that parents and caregivers can do to help protect their child's first teeth. The first step is to establish good oral hygiene habits early on. As soon as the first tooth appears, parents should begin gently brushing it with a soft-bristled brush and water. As more teeth emerge, a small amount of fluoride toothpaste can be added to the brush.