When you have children, teeth seem to become a topic of conversation and sometimes concern. There’s not always a lot of information about them. And when children only see a dentist once every 6 or 9 months, you can’t always ask the things you want to know at the time. Also, because every child’s teeth are different, asking around friends doesn’t always get an answer that fits. So baby teeth, milk teeth, whatever you want to call them, here’s how we’ve got on.
The timeline of concerns for children’s teeth
When do baby teeth appear?
First baby teeth on average appear between 6 to 12 months. But some may be born with a tooth, others may take longer to get theirs.
First is when babies get their first teeth and they lose the gummy baby smile. Comparison tends to start here with other parents. Concerns are when babies are teething and in pain or not. Breastfeeding mums have teeth to contend with while feeding their baby. And what’s the best teething products to use to ease their pain.
When N was a baby, I think his first tooth was around 4 months old – similar to some of the others in my NCT group. His baby teeth came through in line with expectations.
Do teething products help?
Like most things it’s a personal thing. Babies do like something solid against their painful gums and there’s a choice of teething toys out there. Some babies go through teething without much pain, others have more issues.
Oh and other than painful gums, watch out for really acidic smelling and runnier poo. That’s not pleasant Officially experts say teething doesn’t cause runnier poos, but many parents will say their babies did have runnier and a different colour poo when they were teething. They say you should treat runnier poo like you would diarrohea in case it’s really a sign of illness.
For us, N’s first milk teeth arriving didn’t seem to bother him that much. He had the usual teething rings to chomp on, then when he was a bit older I was introduced to the teething necklaces, which are softer silicone type material that mums can wear, and babies can grab and chew on the pendant part. I found them useful to tie to trolley handles to keep him entertained while we shopped. We also used the Nelsons teething powders – but they were struggling with supply, and were being discontinued – at the time I remember seeing mums online sharing where you could buy them, or buying in bulk when they could. I was never sure how much they helped. But as a mum you try everything if your baby is struggling.
Once those main 4 teeth were through I got him an amber anklet to wear. Amber has anti-inflammatory properties, and is meant to be able to reduce pain. Some mums use amber bead necklaces which weren’t something I was keen on. Too easy for a baby to get it caught or fiddle with it and bread it. The anklet was out of the way, usually under socks, and was easily adjustable. The recommendation is to buy from somewhere they knot inbetween each bead so if it breaks, there’s only one bead rather than lots rolling loose.
Because he wore it all the time, I don’t know if his later teething would have more more painful without, but we certainly didn’t have the bad sleepless nights some had when their babies were teething. The only time I noticed it must have made some effect, was when swimming – once the OH removed it at bath time (he really hated his son wearing ‘jewellery’), and I couldn’t find it to put it back on before a swimming lesson. He had a really bad lesson, griping and moaning all the time. Later that day I found it again, popped it back on his ankle and he was back to his normal chilled out baby style.
When to take a baby to the dentist?
It’s advised taking children to the dentist as soon as their first teeth appear. This helps them get used to sitting with parents in the dentist chair and learning to open their mouths.
I took N along with me to my appointment. He just sat on my lap and the dentist had a quick look in his mouth – I think at that point he didn’t have any teeth. But he’s always been good at the dentist since.
I think it’s generally more worrying for parents. Every time I take him I worry they’ll say he’s got rotten teeth and he’s not been cleaning them properly. But so far so good – he just has some sealant painted on to help protect them. And a lecture on no sweets, no fizzy drinks, not too much fruit juice and keep sweet treats to being eaten with meals. Given N is a grazer, that’s the hardest bit, and trying to get him to use his electric toothbrush. But I’m hoping that decent dental health will continue for him.
Wobbly teeth and growing adult teeth
The average age for children’s milk teeth to start falling out is around age 6. They’ll then continue losing them with replacement teeth, and the new extra adult teeth growing up to and through the tween years. The wisdom teeth arrive last during late teens to age 21. That’s if wisdom teeth appear, because not everyone’s come through.
When I was a child, I lost my milk teeth quite fast and was done with all but my wisdom teeth by age 11. Two top wisdom teeth arrived at some point unknown, the bottom two never grew as there’s no room for them in my jaw. I had 2 teeth out to make room for my top incisors then a plate brace to push those into position from where they were growing too high in the gum. I think N will end up having similar to me as he’s been pretty fast losing his baby teeth and has similar large front teeth for a small mouth.
N’s first wobbly tooth and lost baby tooth was age 5. By age 6 he’d lost a good handful and by 7 had lost 8. He was also lucky in that he didn’t have a big gappy smile like other children tend to, because his teeth all came through quickly after the old ones falling out. I don’t think I even have a decent gap photo because he just didn’t have all 4 front teeth out at the same time.
Weird growing teeth
I thought he’d have to wait a long time til his next teeth fell out, but he’d lost 10 well before his 9th birthday. Then there was a gap, only to find his next top teeth were wobbly. And wobbly they stayed for a few months.
One side fell out with the new tooth already some way through underneath.But the other side just stayed wobbly with the new incisor growing above it in the gum, So now he’s got double teeth on one side. It’s weird and there’s very little room to wiggle the old one. Months later it’s still the same – I’m trying to encourage him to wobble the old one every day to encourage it to loosen and fall out. Then hopefully the higher new incisor would move down into place. Evidently if you grow an extra tooth it’s called Hyperdontia (although hopefully N’s baby tooth will fall out and not need extracting at the dentist).
In the meantime he’s had a further tooth fall out on the bottom – after only 2 days of being wobbly. Number 12.
Not many more to go before they’re all out, then it’s a waiting game until all the adult teeth come through.
With Covid, it means he’s not had a dentist check up since December last year, so it would be helpful just to check out that new freaky double tooth. Hopefully the milk tooth will fall out soon.
With babies you always expect to be worried and unsure, but with teeth, even as children grow up, there are still concerns we parents have.
Not forgetting the tooth fairy institution. What age should they realise the truth? It’s getting much harder to do the switch nowadays.
What worries have you had about your children’s teeth since they’ve had them? Have yours had to have braces when young?