Early And Late Teething
Some slow-to-develop babies get teeth at an early age. The eruption of teeth before the age of 3 or 4 months old is considered early, though babies may exhibit signs of teething during this time. Babies begin to grow tooth buds during the first three months of gestation. Some babies have even been born with a full set of teeth, though one or two is more usual.
Teeth present at birth are called "natal teeth." According to the National Institutes of Health, only 1 infant in every 2-3000 births is born with natal teeth. Natal teeth may have shallow roots which necessitate removal to prevent feeding and lactation issues. The main fear is that the teeth will detach and pose a choking or aspiration risk.
Some babies take their good old time showing off their pearly-whites. Delayed teething is defined as having no teeth by the age of 13 months. This late tooth development is sometimes hereditary, so you may want to ask your parents or in-laws about their (and your own) early dental history. There have been cases of the late eruption of teeth due to nutritional deficiencies, thyroid issues, or gum obstructions. If your child is late in getting teeth, it's a good idea to bring your concerns to his pediatrician.
It's not uncommon to see two one year old babies playing together, one with lots of teeth, the other toothless and gummy-smiled. The main thing is to check with your doctor or a pediatric dentist to make sure everything is in place for the big moment—your baby's first tooth.
There are some Old Wives' Tales relating to teething and you should try not to pay attention to terrible stories of early or late tooth eruption. Some old folks believe that getting teeth early means your baby possesses greater intelligence. In days of yore, natal teeth were a reason to shun an infant, who would be suspected of ill luck, selfishness, and disease. According to legend, both Napoleon Bonaparte and Julius Caesar were born with natal teeth.
Once your baby gets a tooth, use a soft brush moistened with a bit of water to keep it clear of debris that can cause decay. Don't use toothpaste until your child turns two. At that time, you can use a pea-sized dot of toothpaste and supervise to make sure your child doesn't just gulp down the toothpaste. Take your child to his first dental appointment no later than his first birthday and keep the visits regular to make the most of that million dollar smile.