Cutting new teeth, or teething, can be a very frustrating experience for babies and their parents. Parents hate to know their baby is in pain but it’s not always obvious that an infant is teething. I’m sharing my experiences and tips for teething babies to help you so you know what to do when your baby is teething.
What You Can Expect During Teething
Your baby can begin teething as early as 3 months old and the process can continue up to a child’s 3rd birthday or beyond. In most cases, when your baby is between the ages of 4 and 7 months, you will notice your child’s first tooth pushing through the gum line.
Typically, the first teeth to appear are the two bottom front teeth. And, let’s face it — it makes those babies even cuter! These teeth are the central incisors. Within 4 to 8 weeks, your baby’s four front upper teeth will begin to push through the gums. These are the central and lateral incisors. In another month, your baby’s lower lateral incisors will begin to come in. That is the two teeth on each side of the bottom front teeth. Next will be molars. Your baby’s back teeth are used for grinding food. Last but not least, your baby’s eyeteeth will start to come in. That’s the pointy teeth in the upper jaw. By your baby’s third birthday, they will usually have all 20 primary teeth.
Only in very rare cases does a baby get born with one or two teeth or begin teething within the first few weeks after birth. There is no reason for concern if this happens, unless the teeth are loose and pose a choking hazard.
When your baby begins teething you might notice they begin to drool more and constantly want to chew on things. Some babies experience no pain while teething, others may be irritable or cranky for weeks. Some babies experience crying episodes, not wanting to eat, and sleep disruption. If your child is too irritable, call your doctor to see if there is a problem.
I always knew my kiddos were teething when the drool went above and beyond what was normal. Because babies can’t actually tell you what’s going on, you’ll need to pay attention to minor changes to know if she’s teething or not.
Tender and swollen gums can cause your baby’s temperature to rise, but generally teething does not cause high temperature in babies. You should call your doctor if a high temperature do occur, because there is probably another cause for it.
Tips for Teething Babies
Here are my tips for teething babies for you mommies out there managing infants who are cutting their teeth.
1. If your baby drools excessively, wipe their mouth often or it could cause rashes. I personally used Eucerin that comes in a tub to help with the skin rash — it was gentle enough for my babies skin but tough enough to help the skin heal. (BTW — we still use it during the winter for the boys! It can be pricey but lasts a really long time and is worth every penny.)
2. Give your baby something to chew on that is large enough that they cannot swallow it and something that won’t break or cannot be chewed into small pieces. Place a wet washcloth in the freezer for thirty minutes and let them chew on that. Rubber teething rings are another good choice. There are even teething necklaces you can wear so you baby can grab it and chew on it while you’re holding her.
3. Rub your baby’s gums with your finger. This can help relieve the pain. Acetaminophen or baby Motrin may also help relieve your baby’s pain. Always consult your doctor before giving them any medication and remember, never give a baby aspirin.
Good Dental Hygiene for Baby Teeth
Even though these teeth are not your baby’s permanent teeth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on preventing tooth decay!
Good dental hygiene for your baby is extremely important. These teeth are not permanent and will eventually fall out, however, lack of proper care can cause them to drop out prematurely, leaving gaps. If that happens the other teeth may try to fill the gap, causing bad alignment in the baby’s permanent teeth.
While it may be tempting to let your baby fall asleep with a bottle while she’s teething to sooth her, don’t do it. The milk or juice can pool in her mouth and cause tooth decay and plaque.
Even before teeth come in, you should start caring for the baby’s gums. Wipe their gums off with a washcloth or gauze or use a baby-sized toothbrush without toothpaste. When the first tooth appears, brush it with plain water.
The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist by age 1, when six to eight teeth are in place, to spot any potential problems and advise parents about preventive care. That said, most parents I know took their kiddos to the dentist for the 1st time around age two.
Around age three, when your child is old enough to spit it out, toothpaste is okay to use. Make sure the toothpaste contains fluoride but use very little for small children. Do not let them swallow it. Overdoses of fluoride are dangerous for children.
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