Teething in Babies – Symptoms, Remedies and Care
Rearing a baby is a herculean task. New age moms want to give the best to their babies. And for this they don’t leave a single stone unturned-keeping the track of baby’s growth, when and what to give as food, regular health check ups and much more. One important milestone in the baby’s growth and of course parent’s life is teething.
Today we have Dr. Ankita Sanyam Agrawal, a practicing dentist and mother to a 6 month old baby, to tell us all about Teething in Babies and to give us lots of cool tips about the same. Over to her now.
Teething is a process by which an infant’s first teeth (baby teeth or milk teeth) sequentially appear by emerging through the gums. It usually begins between six to eight months.
Whenever the first tooth makes its appearance, celebrate it by taking lots of pictures and recording the date in the baby record book.
Sequence Of Eruption/ Teething Timeline
The most common first teeth to erupt are the two in the bottom centre, followed closely by the two in top centre known as central incisors.
Then, the lateral incisor, followed by first molars which are closest to the opening of baby’s mouth.
Then comes the canines on either side of laterals and last are the second molars in the very back.
Making a total of 20 temporary teeth, by the age of 3. These are called temporary or milk teeth,as later they will be replaced by permanent or adult 32 teeth, starting by the age of 6.
Symptoms of Teething in Babies
Teething is a natural process which creates little more than discomfort.
The soreness and swelling of the gums before a tooth comes through is the cause for the pain and fussiness your baby experiences during this change.
Symptoms usually begin about 3-5 days before the tooth shows, and disappears as soon as the tooth breaks the skin.
- It can make your baby irritable or fussy. There may be excessive drooling due to over stimulation of salivary glands. This can lead to facial rashes as baby’s skin is too soft. It can be relieved by applying petroleum jelly.
- There will be obvious swelling of the gums and increased sensitivity.
- The little one will refuse feedings. There can be sleep problems due to pain. Some baby’s also experience diarrhoea, fever or runny nose.
How to Calm a Teething Baby
No parent can see their baby in pain or discomfort. Teething can be normal and easy in some while it can be a nightmare for others. There are some ways by which we can provide relief to the little one:
- Give your child something to chew on, like a firm rubber teething ring or a cold wash cloth, chilled (not frozen) in the refrigerator.
- Counter pressure – Rub a clean finger gently but firmly over baby’s sore gums for temporary pain relief.
- Cold food- like icy food to suck on, frozen fruits like bananas and plums in a baby feeder mesh bag (under adult supervision).
- Comfort- extra snuggles, extra kisses and lots of patience.
- Avoid numbing agents.
What to do in case Symptoms worsen?
- No parents or baby remembers the teething process as they grow up. But there may be some major concerns during teething which need to be taken care off.
- It can cause bleeding under the gums, which may look like a bluish lump in baby’s mouth known as eruption hematoma. It can be relieved with cold counter pressure. As soon as the teeth erupt in the oral cavity, the condition reverses.
- If fever continues for more than 3 days or is higher than 101 degrees or accompanied by any other symptom of illness, call your paediatrician. Same goes for diarrhoea.
Taking care of Temporary Teeth
When parents bring their babies to us, the first thing we make them understand is –“Primary teeth maybe temporary tool for chomping and will be replaced with the permanent ones. But they are no less important. Developing healthy dental habits will lead to lifetime dental health”.
We tell them to begin with brushing as soon as they see the pearls see the pearls emerge through the gums. For this they can use a clean damp wash cloth or a gauze pads to gently wipe clean the first teeth and the front of the tongue, after meals and at bed time.
Brushing Baby Teeth
Brushing is vital. The brush should be very soft with no more than 3 rows of bristles. Toothbrushes moistened with water and a rice grain size smear of fluoride toothpaste can be used.
It is advisable to toss any toothbrush that has become rough at the edges or that is more than 2 to 4 months old.
Other than brushing, we recommend some more things for the maintenance of those white caps like:
- Diet rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium , phosphorus, fluorides and especially vitamin c.
- It is vital to cut out refined sugars as it is much disastrous and a major cause for cavities.
- Including yummylicious cheese in baby’s diet as they have the highest calcium content, an important building block of tooth structure. Kids love it too!
- A complete no to bottles, cups and sippies as they allow the liquid (milk or juices) to pool in baby’s mouth. Night time ritual of bottle feeding can lead to nursing bottle caries.
- Fluorides are important for healthy teeth but anything in excess is bad. Excessive fluorides get deposited in the teeth structure leading to fluorosis or mottling of teeth.
Lastly, we know, lots of changes takes place in the oral cavity with the developing teeth. Regular visit to the dentist and proper care at home are a must.
|Ankita Sanyam Agrawal is a doctor by profession and a mother of a 6 months young. An avid traveller and reader, who always wanted to write. She says baby has given me that inspiration.|