6 Myths About Baby Teeth


Get the facts about baby teeth and get your infant started on the path to good oral health as early as possible.

With so many years of dealing with your own teeth, you’d think that caring for your baby’s tiny ones would be no big deal. Yet there’s still a lot of confusion about what to do when teeth start making an appearance around 6 months. This expert advice will answer your questions and dispel some common misconceptions.

MYTH: Baby teeth aren’t that important.

FACT: Yes, your baby’s primary teeth are temporary and will eventually fall out. However, they have many functions beyond looking adorable. “Baby teeth are essential for eating and getting proper nutrition, for the structure of the face, and for holding space for the adult teeth to come in properly,” says Homa Amini, D.D.S., chief of pediatric dentistry at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio. If a tooth is lost too early because of decay, the other teeth could shift so there’s not enough space for the adult tooth to grow in, she says. Another reason those tiny teeth are critical: your baby’s speech development. She’ll need her teeth to be able to eventually produce sounds like l, th, and sh.

MYTH: Teething can make your baby sick.

FACT: Although you may have heard that teething causes diarrhea, fever, and a whole host of other problems, recent research shows that any symptoms are actually quite mild. Gum irritation, drooling, and irritability are the most common symptoms associated with teething, according to a recent study in Pediatrics; some babies may also experience a slight rise in temperature. However, a true fever (100.4°F or higher) isn’t related to teething, says Jade Miller, D.D.S., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). If your baby has significant signs of sickness, contact your pediatrician.

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