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Teething


Teething can be a frustrating time both for you and your baby. Just when you thought your baby was getting predictable and both of you had settled down to a routine, there comes the next challenge. When a baby begins to teeth, it’s hard to say how long it will take and how uncomfortable it will be for her. For most babies teething can be relatively painless, while others might have to go through a long, painful experience.

 

The first tooth can cut in anytime between four to fifteen months, but most often it appears between four to seven months. In total there are twenty primary (milk) teeth, ten at the top and ten at the bottom. The first teeth to appear are usually the two bottom front teeth, also known as the central incisors. They are usually followed by the upper front teeth. About a month later, two more lateral incisors cut in; making four top and four bottom front teeth in all. Next to break through are the first molars (double teeth for chewing food) at around 10-14 months. This is followed by the canines (the pointed teeth or fangs) between 15-18 months. The second molars (the second set of double teeth at the back) cut in sometime between 2-2.5 years.

Most children have all 20 of their primary teeth by their third birthday.  These teeth usually last until about the age of six, when the primary teeth become loose and fall out as the secondary teeth begin to push through the gums. The primary teeth continue falling out until the age of twelve. The ages mentioned above are an average and your child may follow an earlier or later pattern.


                                     Symptoms of teething 

Teething symptoms vary in each individual child. For some it is a relatively painless experience while others may have brief periods of irritability. Very few remain fretful for weeks, with disrupted sleeping and eating pattern. If your baby seems distressed, look inside her mouth for signs that a tooth is about to come.

About 3 to 5 days before a tooth breaks through, your baby’s gums will be red, swollen and tender to touch. Your baby may bite, chew, or suck her hands, or anything else she can reach. This is all normal part of teething.


This discomfort of teething is largely due to the pressure that is exerted by the erupting tooth as it is about to break through the surface of the gum tissue. As a result, the gums become increasingly, sore and painful. The pain and discomfort is most often worse during the first teeth cutting in and later when the molars cut in because of their bigger size. There are other symptoms as well, that help you make sure that she is indeed teething and not actually sick.
 
 
1)      Excessive drooling: a few weeks prior to the actual eruption of the tooth you may see your baby start drooling more often. Teething stimulates drooling, which is often worse with some babies than others. This can cause a rash on the chin, face, or chest. To help prevent this, make sure that you have a cloth at hand to wipe your baby’s mouth and chin. It is amazing how much saliva can come out of such a tiny mouth.

2)      Irritability: you may find that your little one has become very fussy lately. Probably, because of the little tooth pressing on the gums and causing pain. Some babies may be irritable for just a few hours, but others can stay restless for days or even weeks.

3)      Chewing or gnawing: a baby who is teething will gnaw on her toys, fingers or anything that comes her way. The counter pressure from biting on something probably helps relieve the pressure from under the gums. Offer her safe objects such as rubber teethers to bite on.

4)      Flushed cheeks or ear pulling: pain in the gums may travel to the ears and cheeks. This is why you may see your baby rubbing their cheeks or pulling at their ears. Keep in mind that pulling at an ear can also be a sign of an ear infection.

5)      Slight rise in temperature: inflamed gums can sometimes produce low grade fever (less than 101degree F).

6)      Trouble sleeping: with teething pain happening during the day and night, you may find your child wakes more often at night when the pain gets bad enough.

7)      Cold like symptoms: some babies may show signs of having a cold. Running noses, coughing and general cold symptoms are believed to be because of low immunity that makes her prone to infections.

8)      Coughing: the extra saliva can cause your baby to occasionally cough or gag. This is not a concern if your baby shows no signs of a cold or flu and does not run a high temperature.

9)      Sore gums: indicate that the first tooth will soon appear. First tooth usually hurt the most as do the molars, although most babies eventually get used to what teething feels and are not so bothered later on.

10)  Refusal to feed: teething babies are fussy about feedings. Babies eating solid foods may also refuse to eat during teething as swollen gums can cause pain when chewing. Do check with your doctor if your baby shuns several feeds.


                                        Remedies for teething

Teething should not make your baby really unwell. If your baby has other symptoms (such as fever, vomiting, or diarrhoea) or you are concerned about his health, get advice from your doctor. There are different things you can try to help ease the pain of teething. Some work, some don’t but they are always worth the try.

                              

  • It can help to give your baby something hard to chew on, such as teething ring, rattles, and other teething toys. Look for ones that can be chilled in the fridge first or which have special ‘bumpy bits’ for massaging your baby’s gum (do not put teething rings in the freezer). The chewing action provides counter pressure, which relieves the aching pressure of the teeth pushing on the gums.

  •  If your baby’s already eating solid food, you could try giving her breadstick or rusk. You can give him something cold to chew on like a chunk of cold pear, yoghurt, pureed peaches, as cold comforts the gums. You must remember to give this under adult supervision and with baby sitting or propped upright.

  • You can try rubbing a little teething gel over your baby’s sore gums. Check with your doctor which ones to buy and how often to apply.

  • Gently massaging your baby’s gums with a clean finger can sometimes bring relief.

  • When nothing else helps, especially, during night time or if your baby seems to be in lot of pain, you can give her pain killer like paracetamol or ibuprofen. However, you should always consult your doctor who can advise about the correct age-appropriate dose.

  • Keep her busy by planning different activities such as going for walk, games, or books.

  •  If your baby dribbles, wipe her face to help stop her getting a rash.

  • Give her lots of cuddle. Remember your little one is going through a rough patch and she needs all the TLC to help her cope with pain.
 
Remember
The teething process will come and go just like so many other things with new babies. Keep trying different things until you find what provides the best relief. Always check with your doctor before trying any of these remedies.

Parents tend to attribute common illnesses like diarrhoea, fever, cold, crying, or irritability down to teething. If you are unsure, seek advice from your doctor. As soon as your baby’s first tooth comes through, you need to get an (extra soft) toothbrush and baby toothpaste.

 
Checklist:  
  • Bibs to wipe away the drool

  • Tethers’

  • Teething gel

  • Baby tooth brush

  • Baby toothpaste 

     
                                        Cleaning your baby’s teeth 
Gentle brushing with a first baby toothbrush should start as soon as her first tooth emerges. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Choose a toothbrush that is designed for your baby’s age and size.

  •  Let your baby play with her toothbrush before brushing, so that it becomes familiar.

  • Sit her on your lap and clean her teeth from behind.

  • Use a small smear of fluoride toothpaste on your baby’s brush. Chances are that she will swallow it rather than spit it out, so it is important that she doesn’t get too much.

  • Brush in a circular motion, and brush her gums as well as her teeth.
     
  • Brush your baby’s teeth twice daily-once before bed, and at another time in the day.

  • Don’t let your baby eat the toothpaste as too much fluoride can cause her teeth to become mottled.

  • Your baby may want to get involved, but you should brush her teeth at first, and continue to do so until she is competent at brushing, usually at about the age of seven.

  • From six months onwards, introduce a cup to your baby. After one year, discourage drinking milk from a bottle, and give sweet foods only at meal times.

 

 



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