The growth of your baby's teeth is an exciting time in their development, although the the teething cries may not mean it feels like it. By the time your baby is three, they'll probably have 20 teeth, which is pretty amazing. They'll get most of their "baby teeth" during toddlerhood, starting from around six months old.
Your baby is born with "buds" on their gums, and it's in these areas that the 20 teeth will "erupt" and form into proper baby teeth. It's usually pretty straightforward, but sometimes the tooth-growing process doesn't always go to plan. Sometimes teeth might grow in the wrong order, or develop too close together, or there could be a delay in tooth-growth that might prompt a trip to your GP.
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What order should my baby's teeth grow in?
There are five different kinds of teeth that your baby will grow in their first two years. They are:
Babies usually get their front teeth first, but sometimes they come slightly out of order. This isn't usually a cause for concern, but here's a rough guide of which teeth should come when:
||bottom central incisors
||top central incisors
||top lateral incisors
||bottom lateral incisors
||top first molars
||bottom first molars
||bottom second molars
||top second molars
Although your baby's teeth growth might be different, experts say there is a general pattern. Paediatric dentist Claire Stevens told Mother&Baby: ‘The buds of different teeth grow at different rates.' ‘First to emerge, at around six months, will be her bottom two front teeth, followed a month or so later by her upper middle teeth, her central incisors. At nine to 12 months, she’ll get four more, one on either side of these central teeth, and these are her lateral incisors.'
These usually emerge in pairs, two on one side, then two on the other. ‘At around 14 months, her first molars – bigger, with a flat surface to crush food – will appear top and bottom,' explains Claire, 'leaving a gap between them and her incisors. At 18 months, four sharper canine teeth fill this gap top and the bottom: these are used to tear food. At around 26 months, two pairs of second molars will emerge at the back of her mouth, with broad flat surfaces to grind up her food.’
When is it normal for my baby to teethe?
Every baby is different, some may start teething at four to seven months and some may not get their first teeth until they're around one. Sometimes babies are even born with one or two teeth - it's largely down to genetics.
How can I tell if something is wrong with my baby's teeth?
The order in which your baby's teeth arrive is actually less important than other factors, like the spacing between them and disease prevention. Because baby teeth are much smaller than adult teeth, there should be plenty of space between them to allow room for the adult teeth to grow. Ideally you should check your baby's teeth every four months and visit a pediatric dentist or your GP if you're worried that your baby's teeth are growing too close together.
You might be surprised to know that baby teeth are at a higher risk of tooth decay, causing an increased risk of:
- Early tooth loss
- Gum disease
- Yellow or brown spots on teeth
- Feeding difficulties
- Poor self-esteem
Teething problems tend to happen more frequently in babies born prematurely, so if your baby was born pre-term, consider keeping a closer eye on their teeth. If no teeth have appeared by the time your baby is 18 months old, take them to see a dentist.
Signs your baby's turned into a toddler:
1) You realise you now need eyes in the back of your head
Whereas before you could nip into another room quickly to pick up some more nappies
and your baby wouldn’t have moved far, now you turn around for one second and he’s disappeared.
2) They've discovered the word ‘No!’
And she’s not afraid to use it… a lot. It’s a classic sign of your toddler beginning to assert their dominance
3) But he’s also started saying ‘Mum!’
It started with a ‘Mmummumm’ sound and is now a very specific ‘Mum’, and no matter how often he says
it, you always feel so proud.
4) Bath time just got a whole lot messier
We’ll admit, it’s pretty cute when your toddler gets excited about being able to splash his arms around and play
with bath bubbles.
Not so fun is when he decides to throw all the toys out of the bath and then splash Mummy.
9) They've discovered the jack-in-the-box trick
Before you could put your baby down to sleep and aside from a few rolls, he’d still be lying down when you saw him next.
Now your little monkey loves nothing more than hooking his hands over his cot, bouncing up and down
and for the more energetic, even attempting to climb out.
Saying that, the sight of his cheeky grin as he peeps over the top of his crib every morning gets you every time.
10) You’ve experienced the ‘new’ kind of nappy
Milk and pureed food used to mean nappies were…manageable.
But now he’s eating proper food
, things have taken on a decidedly more solid form.
When did you realise your baby was turning into a toddler? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!