Your baby’s first tooth is an exciting milestone!
Most babies get their first tooth when they’re around 6 months old. But teething can start as early as 3 months. Teething is when your baby’s teeth come through the gums for the first time. The two front teeth on top or bottom usually come in first. Most children have all 20 of their baby teeth by time they are 3 years old.
Some babies have no trouble with teething. Other babies may feel pain for a short time. And others may be fussy for weeks because of teething pain.
Signs and symptoms of teething include:
Call your baby’s health care provider if your baby seems sick, seems to be in constant pain, or has a temperature higher than 101F. These signs may mean that something else is wrong.
To help your baby feel better:
Last reviewed August 2012
Tiny organisms (like viruses and bacteria) can attack your body and cause infections that make you sick. When you get an infection, your body makes special disease-fighting substances called antibodies to fight the organism. In many cases, once your body has made antibodies against an organism, you become immune to the infection it causes. Immune means you are protected against getting an infection. If you're immune to an infection, it means you can't get the infection.
Vaccines usually have a small amount or piece of the organism that causes an infection. The organisms used in vaccines are generally weakened or killed so they won’t make you sick. The vaccine causes your body to make antibodies against the organism. This allows you to become immune to an infection without getting sick first.
Some vaccines have a live but weakened organism. These are called live-virus vaccines. While live-virus vaccines are usually safe for most babies and adults, they’re not generally recommended for pregnant women.
See also: Vaccinations and pregnancy, Your baby’s vaccinations
As soon as your baby's first tooth appears, start brushing with water. Later, when she is old enough to spit, introduce toothpaste. When you use toothpaste, make it a small (pea-sized) amount of a non-fluoride brand. Don't use a toothpaste with fluoride until your child is 2 years old, unless recommended by her dentist. Don't give her fluoride mouth rinses until she's 6. Start flossing as soon as two teeth start to touch each other.
So when should you actually take her to the dentist? The American Dental Association recommends that your baby get her first dental visit within 6 months of getting her first tooth and no later than her first birthday. The dentist checks the shape of your baby's mouth, teeth and gums and looks for signs of damage caused by thumb sucking. Maintaining dental health early can help protect your baby's teeth for a lifetime.