In the age bracket of around 4 to 8 months of age, your little bundle of joy will probably begin teething his first set of teeth, also called the primary teeth. Some early developers might cast a toothy smile by around 3 months, while some will show signs of teething at about a year. As we know, the gums develop in the womb, and teeth are already there when the baby is born. However, the sprouting happens over a period of months, and is considered as a milestone for the baby.
The general sequence of teething will be somewhat like this:
- First – the two middle teeth on the lower jaw.
- Second, the top two middle teeth
- Then the sides and back teeth may sprout.
- Lastly, second molars, on the back of the mouth on both upper and lower jaws.
A 3 year old will have a set of 20 teeth, and these will be his till he attains age 6 and above, when the primary teeth will fall and permanent ones will form.
- Essentially, babies tend to be fussier and irritable during teething, attributed to soreness or swelling in the gums that happen when a tooth tries to make its way upwards.
- Swelling 0r tenderness in the gums.
- Some babies are also known to drool, causing rashes on chin, face or lips.
- Sleep problems are also faced by many, since babies are restless during teething.
- They also refuse food and liquids since their mouths hurt.
- Babies also resort to biting, to release the pressure off the gums
Although some babies also get fever and loose motions during teething, whether or not these symptoms are caused by teething, is a topic of debate and discussion for the paediatricians and doctors. Though it is asserted that excessive saliva loosens the stools of the baby causing diarrhoea, medical science has still not fully accepted the fact. Teething symptoms generally last from about 3 to 5 days.
Since teething cannot be stopped (it’s a part of growing up!) the best thing to do would be to comfort your baby by doing the following:
- Teething rings can be given to babies for chewing – see that they are clean and not hard or edgy.
- If your baby is taking in solids, cold foods like yoghurt could provide relief.
- Rub a clean finger on the baby’s gum, this also provides temporary relief.
- Giving the baby a hard teething cracker such as zwieback to chew on is also effective.
- OTC medicines or teething gels can be given, but strictly if prescribed by the doctor.
Teething is a natural process, and if your baby has not had a sprout even at 18 months, you need to consult a doctor. Any facial injury of birth defect such as cleft palate also needs a doctor’s attention.
Make sure your baby develops early oral hygiene habits, which will help him a lifetime.