Teething is the process in which teeth begin to emerge in a baby's mouth. Baby teeth most often appear in pairs. It can often take several years for all 20 baby teeth to appear in a baby's mouth. The first teeth to erupt are most often the central incisors, which are the bottom two middle teeth. The process by which the teeth come through the gums is initiated by hormones that cause certain cells in the gums to die, which in turn allows the teeth to emerge.
When Baby Teething Occurs
The timing of baby teething can vary greatly depending on the individual. Generally, most babies will begin to teethe between four and seven months of age. However, it is also possible for some babies to not have a single tooth by their first birthday. Teething tends to occur earlier in females than in males, although the exact cause for this is not known.
Signs and Symptoms of Baby Teething
Symptoms of teething can vary depending on the baby, but they may include swollen and tender gums, drooling, increased chewing, fussiness and crying, sleeplessness, mild fever, and irritability. Teething can be painful and cause discomfort in the mouth and gums, but it should not make a baby ill. Babies that are teething often chew on their fingers or toys, and often refuse to eat or drink due to the pain. Another sign of discomfort is evidenced by a baby pulling on their ears. The pain from the mouth pulsates throughout the head, leading the baby to pull on their ears. The excessive drooling can often lead to skin irritation around the baby's mouth, resulting in a mild rash.
How to Treat the Pain
When a baby is teething, there are measures that can be taken to alleviate the discomfort. Teething toys and rings can be offered to the baby, which may provide some relief. Teething toys are generally made of soft plastic and help the baby to break down the gum tissue, in turn allowing the teeth to emerge from the gum. These teething toys are often designed with textures that are appealing to babies. In addition to teething toys, infants can often find relief by chewing on cold objects such as a wet washcloth that has been placed in the freezer. Other objects that a baby might find relief from include a cold spoon, pacifier, or even a frozen ice pop. Teething babies will enjoy chewing on anything and everything, so make sure that whatever they are putting in their mouth is clean and safe. Offering cold water in a Sippy cup may provide some relief as well. In addition, massaging a baby's gums may also help alleviate his or her discomfort.
When it is evident that a baby is in pain due to teething, there are medication options that you can consider. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen in the appropriate dose may help relieve some teething pain. If medication is used to help soothe a teething baby, it is crucial to follow the dosing instructions exactly. Aspirin should never be given to a baby due to the risk of Reye's syndrome.
How to Care for New Teeth
As soon as an infant's teeth begin to appear, it is crucial that they be taken care of. Brushing a baby's teeth at least once a day is the best way to do this. It is recommended to take your baby to the dentist by the age of 1, or within 6 months of the first erupted tooth. Upper Hunt Club Dental Centre in Ottawa employs a staff of trained, dedicated dentists who specialize in taking care of children's teeth. As soon as you notice your baby’s first tooth, give us a call to book an appointment.
Teething can be an unpleasant event in your baby's life. However, the good news is that it is only temporary. By utilizing some of the tips mentioned above, you can help alleviate the discomfort that teething brings. It is crucial to teach your child good oral hygiene habits as soon as teeth begin to appear. It is never too early to teach young child how to brush their teeth and become comfortable with going to the dentist. At the Upper Hunt Club Dental Centre in Ottawa, we take pride in providing the best possible care to our youngest patients. Contact us today to book an appointment, and remember, it’s never to early to start teaching your child about proper oral care.