Parents will agree with me that one of the significant milestones in a baby’s life is the appearance of the first set of TEETH. Although, the teething process may not be a very easy one for most babies (and even their parents), it is only a developmental phase in their lives which does not last long.
Teething refers to the process by which new teeth comes up (grow), through the gum in babies. Teething (also called “cutting” of the teeth), is medically referred to as ODONTIASIS. The first set of teeth that appear at this time is called PRIMARY/MILK TEETH. Babies are born with all 20 primary teeth below their gum-line. These concealed teeth start to come through between 6 and 24 months of age. By the age of 3, children usually have their full set of baby teeth in place.
Teething is associated with gum and jaw discomfort as the baby’s tooth prepares to cut through the gum surface. These discomforts occur during the few days (or weeks) before tooth eruption through the gum line. It is important to note that the intensity of teething symptoms/discomforts vary from one baby to another. The shape and position of the erupting teeth also play a part. For instance, molars are more likely to cause discomfort, compared to other teeth.
Symptoms of teething in babies
- Excessive drooling.
- Loss of appetite.
- Tender and swollen gums.
- Tendency to bite down on objects or the fingers.
- Inability to sleep.
- Rashes around the mouth area due to skin irritation.
- Pulling of ear and rubbing of cheek.
Note: Fever, body rashes and diarrhea are not signs of teething, and should be promptly reported to a doctor in the case of occurrence. This may be signs of a serious illness.
Tips for easing your baby’s pain during teething
- Rub baby’s gums gently with a clean finger.
- Allow baby to chew on clean rubber teething rings, rattles and other safe chewy soft toys.
- Shower extra kisses, snuggles and patience on your teething baby. It helps to soothe them when they become fussy and irritable.
- If all efforts to calm your baby prove abortive, consider baby acetaminophen after checking with your pediatrician. Do not administer drugs on your baby without seeing a doctor first