Baby Teeth – How Can Something So Small Be So Frustrating?
Baby teeth! They can be a source of pain and frustration for both you and your baby, or they may be completely trouble free. I was lucky with my daughter, one day I looked in her mouth and there were these two perfect little bottom teeth!
If your baby’s teething experience is less than ideal don’t let it get you down, it’s only temporary.
When do babies start teething?
Most babies’ teeth emerge when the time is right. Meaning they start to come out at around three months, but more commonly at six to seven months when babies start on solid foods. First to be seen are the two bottom teeth, then a month or two later the four top front teeth make their appearance.
The first molars, or back teeth, come out around 12 months of age ready for some serious chewing. Next come the canines followed by the second molars. By the time baby is three years old, she should have twenty baby teeth (or milk teeth)
Now that’s just a general guide, it doesn’t always happen that tidily.
How can you tell when baby is starting to teethe? Most babies will chew anything, and I do mean anything, they can get their hands on. Anything and everything will end up in their mouth! Don’t be too concerned about germs and bacteria at this stage, this is when they’re developing their immunity and a few germs won’t hurt them. Perhaps keep the garden manure and kitty litter tray out of reach… although I’m told some babies have consumed these and are still with us!
You may notice your baby is drooling more than she used to. The teething process does stimulate drooling and keeping her dry seems like a never ending challenge. Just give her a wipe when you walk past as drooling can cause a rash. Don’t worry, it won’t last forever.
Yes some may be a little fussier around teething time, some will be downright cranky! It’s because she’s uncomfortable, so here’s a few natural tips:
Anything cold will help as it numbs the pain. You can try chilled rubber teething rings or teething rings filled with water and chilled, even a cold washcloth is useful. If you do use a teething ring, just don’t tie it around her neck for safety’s sake.
Teething and stopping eating can sometimes be connected. Try her on cold food for a while. This may help her regain her appetite
If your baby is having a really hard time with her baby teeth, visit your doctor or pediatrician for some more serious pain relief. It’s best to do this rather than just buying something from a pharmacy.
Fever and teething
Although not directly linked to teething, many mums find their babies do have a slight fever when baby teeth are emerging. This is only of concern if it lasts more than a couple of days or worsens.
Ear infections and teething
These two are probably not connected. You may notice your baby pulling at her ears around the time the back molars are coming out. This is merely pain from the jaw traveling to the cheeks and ears.
However if the ear pulling continues or if she seems otherwise unwell, don’t hesitate to have her checked out.
To brush or not to brush?
You can start gently brushing baby’s gums even before any teeth have appeared. Although you can use a damp cloth, using a toothbrush sets
up good brushing habits for life. There’s no need to use toothpaste, in fact it’s a good idea to delay using toothpaste until baby’s old
enough to be able to spit it out. Some toothpaste contains fluoride which can be toxic.
Many parents wonder why it’s so important to look after baby teeth when they’re eventually going to fall out anyway. It’s a good idea for many reasons. It instills a good habit when children are very young, it enable children to chew properly and it keeps their mouth fresh.
These first teeth also serve as a guide for the adult teeth, so good strong baby teeth will help the permanent adult teeth grow straight
High up on the list of don’t dos is putting baby to bed with a bottle. It’s fine only if the bottle contains water, anything else will cause tooth decay. Sweet drinks are taboo, so is milk as it contains sugar. Feed her before you brush her teeth and you’ll be helping her keep her teeth healthy for life.