Since she comes to collect precious baby teeth when they fall out, I am guessing the toothfairy has something to do with making those little tooth buds while babies are cooking in utero. Surely the fairy dust she sprinkles on the gums of babies with Down syndrome must be quite magical because it causes some interesting tooth development.
Babies with Down syndrome often have their teeth come in late (nursing mothers stand up and cheer!) You can expect your baby’s teeth to arrive in any old order they choose, including perhaps not at all for some teeth. (Uh, maybe that fairy got a little too wild with her wand...) And, some teeth may be irregular... as in extra sharp, big, small, or even funky shaped.
What does all this mean (aside from that the toothfairy needs to stop partaking of fairy dust before going to work)? Not much for the under 10 months crowd because tooth eruption tends to be delayed in children with Ds. Babies without teeth can still eat anything that can be mashed by powerful gums and that includes soft well-cooked meats. Your baby can still hurt you by biting you with her gums (nursing mothers can stop cheering now.)
Once your baby’s teeth start arriving, sometimes molars first as was the case with Summer, you should brush them after meals and bottles. (Uh huh, fun fun.) There are lots of baby toothbrushes out there to choose from. Our pediatric dentist recommends the Mam Training toothbrush ($5.99 at Amazon.com as part of a set) and I find it easy to use. It has a long handle and a rounded brush on one end, as well as a gum massager on the other. And don’t forget to floss your baby’s teeth (more fun). I prefer to use floss rather than the fancy new disposable flossers that are out there mainly because it is easier to maneuver around with it in a wriggly baby’s mouth. Good luck finding kid-friendly flavored floss at the drugstore... I score the bubble gum variety when we take the older kids to the dentist. However, since babies with Ds tend to enjoy strong flavors, cinnamon or mint probably works just as well.
There is really no pressing reason to visit a dentist prior to age three (unless some teeth do not come in) but you may want to start shopping for a pediatric dentist who has experience with children who have Ds. We visited a dentist at 15 months because there were signs that teeth might be missing. The dentist confirmed this to be true and suggested X-rays at age two. (We won’t need to do that because she got them for Christmas.) So aside from blog research, some incorrect dental conclusions, and a fancy toothbrush, I can’t think of any good reason to go back before age 3... unless of course, that the toothfairy comes back around and does something crazy with her wand.
While you are here, please take the tooth poll located over in the upper left column. If you leave me a comment saying that you participated in the poll (or that you would have if your baby already had that first tooth :-), you will be entered into the Winter Giveaway. The winner will receive a First Years Star Teether, a NUK straw cup, and bubblegum flavored dental floss. (You are invited to take the poll even if you aren’t interested in the giveaway.)