What is teething
Teething is the process of eruption of the teeth (milk teeth) through the gums. It usually emerges in pairs.
When do babies start teething?
Teething symptoms can start two to three weeks prior to appearance of a tooth. Most babies get their first tooth around 6 months old, some get it as early as 3 to 4 months. Some are even born with teeth while it may be delayed in others till after 12 months.
In what order do baby teeth appear and at what age?
- Bottom incisors – 5 to 7 months
- Top incisors– 6 to 8 months
- Top lateral incisors –9 to 11 months
- Bottom lateral incisors– 10 to 12 months
- First molars – 12 to 16 months
- Canines–16 to 20 months
- Second molars –20 to 30 months
Before She Starts Teething
To make your baby used to tooth brushing and to help make teething less uncomfortable;
- Massage and clean the baby’s gums after breast feeding or bottle feeding with clean gauze/cloth
- Rub your finger along the gum pads after feed
After she starts teething
- Start to take your baby for dental examination as early as age 1. The dentist will advise you on how to care for your baby’s teeth and will check for early signs of dental carries.
- Wait till 2 years of age before you start using fluoride toothpaste for your baby as too much fluoride could cause discoloration of teeth and white spots on the teeth.
- Don’t let kids fall asleep with their bottle between their teeth. It is believed that feeds can sip into the mouth and cause dental carries.
Signs and Symptoms of Teething
Your baby could experience symptoms of cough when teething, this should not be a cause for concern if your baby has no other signs of cold, flu or allergies.
The incessant drooling may cause skin irritation and rashes around the baby’s mouth chin and neck. Moisturizing with a gentle cream or Vaseline can prevent this.
Pressure from teeth emerging through the gums causes babies a lot of discomfort which can be relieved by counter pressure.
Some babies may suffer from pain due to the inflammation of tender gum tissue. First teeth usually hurt the most and the molars too because they’re bigger.
The baby’s mouth ache as the tooth presses on the gums and pokes up to the surface, making them irritable.
Teething stimulates drooling starting from about 10 weeks to three or four months of age or older.
Refusal to feed
Babies may refuse to eat because of the discomfort of the sore gum. Even older children eating solid foods may also refuse to eat while they’re teething.
The pain can also disrupt his or her sleep for a couple of days. Analgesics could be given before bedtime to help the baby sleep through the night.
Ear pulling and cheek rubbing
Gums, ears and cheeks have the same nervous supply so that discomfort in one part affects the other although mothers must be vigilant and be sure that there are no other conditions e.g ear infection associated with the symptom
Chewing in teething babies provides counter-pressure, which relieves the aching of a new emerging tooth. It could help to give your baby rattles, soft toys and cold snacks to chew as this will help numb the gum
What Teething is not
Most mothers and even healthcare professionals still believe that teething is associated with diarrhea but this has been proven not to be true. While it is true that most times children experience diarrhea while they are teething, the 2 conditions are totally unrelated. So why do teething children have diarrhea? Pediatricians believe that because of the discomfort children feel when a tooth is pushing through the gum, they are prone to pick objects from the floor right into their mouth and as a result pick up infections. This might be an explanation for why most teething children also experience diarrhea.
Mothers should note that if the stools are very frequent and contain blood or mucus, the baby should be taken to a pediatrician as soon as possible.
See the post on Diarrhea in children on visit http://www.edokita.com/diarrhea-in-children/ for more information on the types of diarrhea and danger signs to watch out for.
While most teething babies may be irritable, there might be other underlying reasons for an excessively irritable baby. A teething baby can still be distracted at day time with toys, cartoon programs, but a child that is edgy all day and night needs a checkup. It could be tonsillitis, ear infection or other conditions.
Go see a pediatrician immediately if your baby appears ill, or presents symptoms more severe than crankiness, drooling, and biting.
Remedies for Teething Babies
A clean finger, soft toys, wet toothbrush can provide counter pressure with soothing effect for your baby.
Cold drinks and Foods
A cup or bottle of cold water, cold yogurt, blended fruits, cold banana-if the baby has started taking other food, can provide a relief from aching gums.
If other interventions do not provide relief, give analgesic such as paracetamol 5mls. But always check with your pediatrician before giving any drug to your baby no matter how harmless the drug seem.
Avoid numbing agents
Never use herbal gels, or topical numbing agents! This can put children under age 2 at risk for decreased oxygen levels in the blood. Consult with a pediatrician before you use ANY medication, because some medicines contain ingredients that can cause heart problems and drowsiness..