One of the most difficult times for parents is when their sweet, loveable and adorable baby starts to grow teeth. It is this time that sleep problems start, that waking up crying in the middle of the night starts, and the growing of teeth can cause many unpleasant firsts as well. This is a time that is very trying for parents, and is equally stressful for baby as well.
Human dentition is such that we suffer all the time with it; it hurts when it arrives and hurts more when it leaves, and if you don’t take care of them, they can cause a great deal of pain in between. It is important to foster good tooth cleaning habits and a healthy approach to oral health care, as this will rub off and stick with the child for the rest of their life. Below you can find information on teething, and how to handle it.
Your baby will most likely start to grow teeth between 3 and 7 months of age, but starting later, even much later is not uncommon and is not a sign of a developmental or oral problem. Some children are born with teeth, while others don’t show signs of teething until their first birthday, or even later. Teething babies frequently experience fussiness, irritation, diarrhea and fevers, but it is currently under debate whether this is caused by the teething itself, or is from the baby's developing immune system, and from coming into contact with germs for the first time. Common signs of teething are:
swollen cheeks, sometimes reddish in colour
a lot of chewing activity, putting everything in their mouthes
frequent unexplained fevers
irritability, fussiness, pain
possibly diarrhea, loss of appetite
Relief from teething
This time will be difficult, and will continue to be so until all of the teeth are out of the gums. The good news is that they follow one another relatively quickly, and the whole ordeal should be done in under 1 year, and that the pain and symptoms associated with teething come in waves. You can get gels and ointments that suppress the sensations associated with teething, and there are teething capsules as well, but we do not recommend taking these.
Of the gels that are available, none of them are alcohol based, as is sometimes believed, but are based around the numbing qualities of anise seed, mint, and other herbs.
Oral care for babies
You should start brushing the little gums as soon as signs of teething appear, before the tooth erupts. Oral bacteria start to live in the mouth as soon as you draw breath, so fostering a healthy oral environment is very important, as this prevents oral thrush (a concern for babies), and creates healthy oral flora, which will contribute to a healthy oral environment once the teeth do come in.