Q&A: My toddler's teeth are taking a long time to come in. Should I worry?
My daughter started teething late, around 11 months. She got her bottom two, then her top four. She’s 18 months, now, and has three of her first molars, but no other teeth on the bottom. At what point should I be concerned?
Parents often wonder about the appearance of baby teeth—particularly when the first tooth appears early, late, or out of order. That said, your daughter’s teeth don’t sound very far off “schedule.” While 11 months may seem late for a first tooth, it’s not uncommon for the first one to take its own sweet time—making parents wait in eager anticipation even beyond the first birthday!
In general, however, the two lower front teeth (referred to as the lower central incisors), come in first—sometime between 6 to 10 months of age. They are typically followed soon thereafter (8 to 12 months) by the two upper central incisors and their lateral incisor neighbors (upper at 9 to 13 months, lower at 10 to 16 months). As for the appearance of your daughter’s first molars, the upper first molars generally appear between 13 to 19 months, with the bottom ones likely to soon follow suit sometime between 14 to 18 months.
All that said, your attention at this stage of the game is going to be best spent on teaching your daughter healthy habits related to taking care of her teeth right from the start—at an age where most toddlers still love putting things (including a toothbrush) in their mouths. While fluoride-containing toothpaste is not recommended for most children under the age of 2, by all means help your daughter get in the habit of brushing at least twice per day. Additionally, beware of sugary sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages (especially in bottles or sippy cups, where frequent sipping on juice and even milk can be bad for teeth!), and be sure you schedule your daughter’s first dental exam, if you haven’t already.