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When parents notice their lovebug's first baby tooth poking through their gums is a very exciting moment. However, as cute as those new chompers are, it's also important that mom and dad begin begin an oral health care regimen as this can help prevent problems down the road.

According to the American Dental Association, baby teeth, which are also referred to as primary teeth, require just as much care as permanent ones. In most cases, you'll notice a your child's first tooth anywhere between six months and one year. The purpose of them isn't just to make parents, relatives and friends "oooh and awww," they also hold the space in the jaw for the adult teeth that are forming under the gums.

The ADA advises parents make an appointment with a family dentist to have their baby's teeth looked at six months after the first baby tooth appears. In addition to looking for any problems such as gum inflammation or possible decay, a dentist will instruct you on the proper way to brush that new pearly white.

If you're a first time parent, you should know that your little one is going to experience some pain when he or she is teething and that this is just a normal part of getting older. Gently massaging your lovebug's gums with a clean finger, cool spoon or moist gauze can help relieve any pain. A teething ring is another great option for soothing discomfort. If none of these treatments are working, you shouldn't delay in calling your dentist or pediatrician. Typically, babies will have around 20 teeth by the time they are 3 years old.

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