Know the Facts and the Signs of Teething

Teething is a major milestone in a baby's development. Some babies sail through the whole experience of teething without any problems at all.

Arushi Bidhuri
Dental HealthWritten by: Arushi BidhuriPublished at: Aug 22, 2018
Know the Facts and the Signs of Teething

Teething is a significant milestone in a baby's development. Some babies sail through the whole experience of teething without any problems at all but some face complications. Some babies face soreness and swelling of the gums before a tooth comes. This might make the baby uncomfortable, and before a tooth appears, the child may cry, be irritable and sleep and eat poorly.

Most babies grow their first tooth when they’re between 4 and 7 months. Teeth can come through at once or several can come through, and they might not come in straight but do not worry. They usually straighten out over time. Some baby might even suffer from fever, diarrhoea or a runny nose before a tooth comes. Sometimes, a baby also suffers from lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting along with illness.

According to experts, a child's complete set of first teeth develop by the age of 3. Also, the child may drool, have red and tender gums, and continuously chew on objects during the process. 

Also read: Do Babies Vomit when Teething?

Some Helpful Tips

  • Wipe your baby's face often with a soft absorbent cloth to remove the drool
  • When dribbling is excessive, give your baby plenty of water or diluted juice
  • For babies older than four months, try a baby teething gel and spread it across the gums
  • Give your baby something to chew on
  • Freeze a wet washcloth tied in a knot for 30 minutes before giving it to your baby or use a teething ring that can be kept in the fridge first or specially designed toys for teething
  • Gently rub your baby's gums with a clean finger
  • Your doctor may recommend infant pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen. Never give a baby aspirin
  • Change diapers frequently if stools are loose
  • Don't force your baby to eat but carry on with breast or formula feeding and try feeding something like a cold pureed apple
  • Many natural herbal and homoeopathic remedies contain all-natural baby-safe ingredients such as Chamomilla, Passiflora and Calc Fluor

Childhood Caries (cavities)

As soon as a baby's first teeth appear, the teeth are susceptible to decay. This condition is called as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Early Childhood Caries (cavities).

What causes Childhood Caries (cavities)?

Decay occurs when sweetened liquids are given and are left clinging to an infant's teeth for extended periods. Many sweet fluids cause problems, including milk, formula and fruit juice. Bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food. They then produce acids that attack the teeth. Each time your child drinks these liquids, acids attack for 20 minutes or longer. After many attacks, the teeth can decay.

Untreated caries may lead to early loss of the primary dentition and affect the growth and maturation of the secondary, adult dentition.

How can Tooth Decay be Prevented?

  • Wipe the baby's gums with a clean gauze pad after each feeding
  • Begin brushing your child's teeth when the first tooth erupts. Clean and massage gums in areas that remain toothless, and begin flossing when all the baby teeth have erupted, usually by age 2 or 2½
  • Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk
  • Give the child a clean pacifier recommended by your dentist or physician
  • Start dental visits by the child's first birthday

Protect your Child's Teeth 

Brush at least twice a day: After breakfast and before bedtime. Brushing properly breaks down plaque. Brush all of your teeth, not just the front ones. Spend some time on the teeth along the sides and in the back. Brush away from your gums. Restrict sugary drinks in the diet: The important thing to consider is the frequency of drinks consumed, more than the quantity. Try to minimise your child's consumption of fruit juices, sweets, chocolates and cakes. Fresh vegetables and fruits are healthier alternatives to the sugary foods, and water, of course, is the best alternative.

Signs of Teething 

  • Increased demand for breast or bottle-feeding
  • Rejection of breast or bottle because sucking hurts gums
  • Poor appetite
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Increased fussiness, night-time crying
  • Excessive dribbling
  • Chewing on fingers, teething rings
  • Swollen, red, inflamed gums

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