Know the facts and learn the signs of teething

By  , Jagran Cityplus
Jul 28, 2010

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Teething is a major milestone in a baby's development. Some babies sail through the whole experience of teething without any problems at all. Not all babies are so lucky and will experience a degree of discomfort when they cut their first teeth.


Dr Bhavana G Saraf, MDS Tedodontisp said, "Parents should be able to recognise the signs of teething. A child's first tooth usually appears by 6 months of age, and a complete set of 20 primary or first teeth usually develop by age 3. Before a tooth appears, the child may cry, be irritable and sleep and eat poorly. The child may drool, have red and tender gums, and chew constantly on food and objects during tooth eruption. During teething, the child may have a mildly elevated temperature (below 100° F or below 38° C). Children who have higher temperatures and those who are especially fussy should be evaluated by a doctor because these symptoms are not due to 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 spread 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 cooled in the fridge first or specially designed toys with textures.
  • Gently rub your baby's gums with a clean finger.
  • In some instances 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 as normal and try feeding something like cold pureed apple.
  • There are a number of natural herbal and homeopathic remedies containing 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 child is 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 long periods. Many sweet liquids 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 baby bottle 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 in 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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