How to Help Your Teething Baby – Everything You Need to Know
Who doesn’t love an infants’ toothless giggle as you tickle its belly and make “ga-ga” noises? However, those teeth will inevitably make their way through those tiny gums, and for good reason – toothless adults are just not as cute! But mental images aside, this period, often referred to as teething, can be a very uncomfortable time for your baby.
In this blog, we will tell you what you can expect during this period, what symptoms to look for, and what action you can take to help your baby through this important growth stage.
When will teeth start to emerge?
Teething occurs when the primary teeth push upwards and eventually break through the gums. There is no exact time for a baby to start teething. However, as a general rule teeth start emerging around the 4 to 7 month mark. There is no reason to be alarmed if teeth appear earlier or later, though. It is not uncommon for teeth to appear earlier in faster-developing babies or later in premature babies.
How do these tiny teeth form?
Teeth actually begin forming while the baby is in the womb. After birth, teeth will typically emerge in the following sequence:
- 6 months - lower central incisors
- 8 months - upper central incisors
- 10 months - lower and upper lateral incisors
- 14 months - first molars
- 18 months - canines
- 24 months - second molars
Teeth may come out crooked, but don’t be too worried, they will usually straighten out as more teeth start to erupt alongside them. By around age 3, your baby should have a full set of 20 baby teeth.
How to know that your baby is teething?
Teething is a different experience for each baby. While some babies show no signs for teething others will experience discomfort or pain. There really is no single set of teething symptoms. However, common symptoms often include:
- Irritability or fussiness
- Drooling(which can cause a facial rash)
- Swollen, sensitive gums
- Gnawing or chewing behavior
- Refusing to eat
- Trouble sleeping
- Rubbing its face
- Grabbing its ears
Symptoms can last anywhere from a few days as the tooth emerges, or several months if many teeth start to erupt together. For the lucky few, no symptoms will be felt, teeth will just appear with minimal disruption.
How to help and comfort your baby during this stage?
Teething time can be just as painful to watch for a parent as it is for the baby. It can be distressing to a parent, especially if the baby is in a constant amount of pain and discomfort. The good news is there are many things you can try to make this transition more smooth and comfortable for your little one.
Teething babies have a strong urge to chew or gnaw during this time. To help satisfy this desire, you can give them something to chew on. You can simply wet and cool a washcloth in the refrigerator, or use a rubber teething ring.
Additionally, you can use a clean finger to massage the area around the location the tooth is erupting. Try applying a gentle amount of pressure to the area. However, if the gums are very swollen it is best to wait for the swelling to subside before attempting this method.
If pain or discomfort persists then speak to your doctor who can recommend to you safe pain relief medication.
How to clean your baby's first teeth?
Oral care for your baby should begin at infancy, even before teeth start to emerge. Why so early? Because getting your baby use to this routine early on will help make the transition to brushing his teeth a lot smoother. It will also help him to be more conscious of taking care of his teeth and gums as he grows and develops his adult teeth later on.
Here’s what to do when you notice the first teeth start to appear:
- Brush the whole mouth twice a day using a baby-designed toothbrush.
- Use a rice-grain size amount of toothpaste.
- Brush gently on the inside and outside of the tooth. There is no need to rinse the mouth as you only use a small amount of toothpaste.
How well you care for these first teeth will greatly impact the overall oral health of your child well into adulthood. They will chew better, learn to speak more clearly, and smile with confidence.