This is the first time that teeth have passed through a baby's gums. It can be a frustrating time for babies and their parents. Knowing what to expect during teething and how to make it a little less painful can help.
When does teething start?
Although teething can start as early as 3 months old, chances are you'll see the first tooth pass through your baby's gum tissue when your baby is 4-7 months old.
The first teeth to appear are usually the two lower front teeth, also known as the central incisors. They are usually followed 4 to 8 weeks later by the four upper front teeth (central and lateral incisors). About a month later, the lower lateral incisors (the two teeth flanking the lower anterior teeth) will appear.
The first molars (the posterior teeth used for crushing food), then the teeth of the eye (the sharp teeth of the upper jaw) are the next to be drilled. Most children have their 20 primary teeth by their third birthday (if your child's teeth are coming on much slower, talk to your doctor).
In rare cases, children are born with one or two teeth or have a tooth that emerges within the first few weeks of life. Unless the teeth interfere with feeding or are loose enough to pose a choking hazard, this is usually not a cause for concern.
What are the signs of teething?
When children start teething, they may drool more and feel like chewing things. For some babies, teething is painless. Others may have brief periods of irritability, while others may appear cranky for weeks, with crying spells and disturbed sleep and eating habits. Teething can be uncomfortable, but if your baby seems very fussy, talk to your doctor.
Although tender, swollen gums may cause your baby's temperature to be a little higher than normal, teething usually doesn't cause a high fever or diarrhea. If your baby has a fever while teething, something else is probably causing the fever and you should contact your doctor.
How to make teething easier?
Here are some tips to keep in mind when your baby is teething:
- Gently wipe your baby's face often with a cloth to remove slime and prevent rashes. .
- Rub your baby's gums with a clean finger.
- Give your baby something to chew on.Make sure it is big enough so that it cannot be swallowed or choked, and it cannot break into small pieces.A wet washcloth placed in the freezer for 30 minutes is a handy teething aid.Make sure you take it out of the freezer before it gets rock hard if you don't want to ruin those already swollen gums.Make sure to wash it after each use.Rubber teething rings are also good, but avoid those that have liquid in them as they can break or leak.If you are using a teething ring, put it in the refrigerator, but NOT in the freezer.In addition, never boil to sterilize it.Extreme changes in temperature could damage the plastic and cause chemicals to leak.
- Teething cookies and frozen or cold foods are only suitable for children who are already eating solid foods. Do not use them if your child has not yet started solids. And be sure to monitor your baby to make sure nothing breaks or poses a choking hazard.
- If your baby seems irritable, ask your doctor if it is okay to give him a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen (for babies over 6 months old) to reduce his discomfort.
- Never place an aspirin against the tooth, and do not rub alcohol on your baby's gums.
- Never tie a teething ring around a baby's neck or any other part of the body. He might get caught up in something and strangle the baby.
- Do not use amber teething necklaces. They can cause strangulation or suffocation if the pieces break.
- Do not use teething gels and tablets because they may not be safe for babies.
How do I take care of my baby's teeth?
Caring for and cleaning your baby's teeth is important for their long-term dental health. Even if the first set of teeth fall out, decay causes them to fall out faster, leaving gaps before the permanent teeth are ready to enter. The remaining primary teeth can then squeeze together in an attempt to fill in the gaps, which can cause the permanent teeth to be crooked and misplaced.
Daily dental care should start before your baby's first tooth even arrives. Wipe your baby's gums daily with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze, or brush them gently with a soft baby-sized toothbrush and water (no toothpaste!).
As soon as the first tooth appears, brush it with water and fluoride toothpaste, using only a small amount.
It is okay to use a little more toothpaste once a child is old enough to spit it out, usually around 3 years old. Choose one with fluoride and use only a pea-sized amount or less for younger children. Do not let your child swallow the toothpaste or eat it out of the tube, as an overdose of fluoride can harm children.
When all of your baby's teeth are in place, try brushing them at least twice a day and especially after meals. It is also important to get children used to flossing from a young age. A good time to start flossing is when two teeth start to touch. Talk to your dentist for advice on flossing those tiny teeth. You can also get toddlers interested in the routine by letting them watch and imitate you when you brush and floss.
Another important tip for preventing tooth decay: Don't let your baby fall asleep with a bottle. Milk or juice can collect in a baby's mouth and cause cavities and plaque.
It is recommended that children see a dentist before the age of 1 year, or within 6 months of the appearance of the first tooth, to detect any potential problems and advise parents on preventive care.
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