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The Informed Parent

Questions & Answers: Teeth and Seeing

by Louis P. Theriot, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on Jan. 01, 1997

Q: I am a little worried about my 11-month-old. He doesn't have any teeth yet. The baby book I have says that babies get their first teeth at six months of age. Could there be a problem?

A: This is a commonly asked question by parents and grandparents. And while most books do say that babies get their first teeth at six months, this merely represents the average age that babies get their teeth. The normal range for first teeth eruption can be from three months, to beyond 12 months. This is determined by one's genetics, and varies from one child to another. If your son is growing normally, and developing on schedule, you shouldn't have a thing to worry about. I would discuss this with his doctor however, if for no other reason but your peace of mind.

Q: I have a two-week-old. I "swear" she can see. My husband thinks I am crazy. He says there's no way she can see. Can she see?

A: You win! Recent studies have shown that infants in the first few weeks of life can see light, shapes and even detect movement. It is interesting that the optimal focusing distance for a newborn is around 12 inches...the distance between the baby's eyes, and mom's eyes while feeding. Beyond the 12 inches, objects might appear blurred to a newborn. But they certainly can see.

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