Most babies sprout their first tooth around the age of 6 months, though this varies a great deal. I have seen many babies who had their first tooth as early as 3 months while my own daughter sprouted her first tooth at 11 months. Both are normal.
First set of teeth that humans get are called milk teeth, primary teeth or deciduous teeth. The growth of milk teeth starts in embryonic stage and they become visible somewhere between 4 months to 3 years. These are shed and replaced by permanent teeth later, a process that starts around 6 years of age.
Aprrox. Teething age of milk teeth:
Central incisors : 6–12 months
Lateral incisors : 9–16 months
Canine teeth : 16–23 months
First molars : 13–19 months
Second molars : 22–33 months
Teething can be a difficult time for some babies. Majority of babies have their first set of teeth between the age of 4 and 7 months. However, it is common for some babies to cut their first tooth by 10 months or have it as soon as 3 months. In some cases, tooth is already present at the time of birth, but this is quite rare.
How can you tell if your baby is teething ?
What are the common symptoms of teething in babies?
The symptoms in a teething baby can be varied. In some babies, they are very pronounced and go on for months, in others a tooth may appear one fine day without any discomfort to the baby. Some common symptoms which most parents agree upon are :
Drooling is common in babies, but teething induces excessive drooling. In most babies, drooling starts around ten weeks to three or four months. Teething is supposed to induce drooling. Drooling can also induce chin rash due to wetness. Gently wipe the droll away from chin, if your baby drools too much.
Teething sensation can be painful for the baby and counter-pressure provided by biting on anything provides comfort. You will see that baby will try to bite on everything from Mommy’ nipple to her favorite toy and her own finger. A teether or a cool wash cloth may provide lots of comfort to a teething baby.
A teething baby will become more irritable as inflammation of gum increases when tooth cuts through the gum. Again, some babies have to suffer more and for many weeks, while for others it may be just a few days or even hours. Discomfort is usually the worst when the first set of teeth erupts and during the eruption of molars which are bigger than other teeth. There are some tried and tested ways to comfort a teething baby, which can help.
Not feeding well
A teething baby may not feed well. She may seem to want to feed all the time, as she may crave for comfort of nursing, however these feeding sessions will not last for long. A baby who is on solids may refuse to eat suddenly. Do not worry if this happens, make sure the baby is getting enough breastmilk or formula as that can still provide all the nutrients that baby needs.
There is a lot of difference of opinion as to this symptom. A lot of babies have loose motions during teething. If you feel your baby has more than two to three watery motions, don’t just blame it on teething, consult baby’s doctor immediately.
Gums can become sore and swollen just before tooth appears. Sometimes this stage may be there for quite a while and you may see a faint white tooth beneath the gums. This can be quite uncomfortable for baby.
Some babies may develop low-grade fever during teething. However, if fever is over 100C, you should consult the doctor.
How to Comfort a Teething Baby?
Comforting a baby who is teething can be tricky. Your absolutely happy baby suddenly becomes finicky and cranky , does not want to feed , starts biting everything and keeps you awake at nights which reminds you of days when s/he was a newborn.
You can follow some of below to help relieve some discomfort :
Give something to chew on
Baby likes something cold to bite on to ease inflammation during teething. You can give a water or gel teething ring. Put it in the fridge for sometime, however don’t freeze it. You can also offer a clean muslin cloth. Some parents also give their finger to baby to bite on. If you do so, ensure that the finger is clean. Read more on how to choose a teething ring for your baby. Teething rings are available filled with gel or water
Give something cold to eat/drink
You can give chilled fruit or yogurt/curd to soothe the pain. Baby may also like a bottle of cold water.
Keep baby dry
Keep wiping baby’s chin with a soft cloth if there is excessive drooling. You may find that baby’s chin may be red with rashes due to drooling. Do not wash the area excessively, be very gentle.
Lots of cuddling and love
Sometimes you will find that none of these work and the only way to soothe your bub will be to give lots and lots of love and hugs.
Ask the Doctor
If baby seems to be suffering too much, consult baby’s doctor. Doctor might prescribe some pain-reliever, if required. However, it is not advisable to use over-the -counter medication for baby.
Do not try to teach some new skill to baby while baby is teething. Be sensitive to her needs. If she wants to breast-feed often, let her do so, as breast-feeding provides not just nourishment but also comfort to baby.
What not to do in case of teething in babies?
Apply honey on gums
Even though this is a common advice offered, refrain from applying honey on baby’s gums as doctors recommend not giving honey to babies below 1 year.
Read more on what to avoid for babies below one year
Giving frozen carrot, fruits for baby to chew on
Do not give frozen fruits or vegetables to baby who’s teething as this can be a choking hazard.