Like all other aspects of growth, teething in baby’s life is important for parents to know about. Teeth are very significant part of our body and healthy teeth are imperative for general health.
Odontiasis is another medical word used for teething. When babies’ teeth start breaking through gums or babies cut their teeth through the gums, or when the teeth erupt from the gums, it is known as teething. All babies go through this process of teething, but the age at which it occurs may vary among babies.
There are individual differences in ages at which teething starts. Usually, the first tooth cuts through at age of 6 to 12 months in most babies. Some babies may start earlier than 6 months and later than 12 months. The age at which teething begins is genetically determined and there are family patterns where teeth erupt early or late.
About every 2000 -3000 live birth, a baby may be born with a tooth already there in the mouth. This phenomenon is known as ‘natal’ tooth. This can be a unique event in otherwise a normal baby, or it may be a symptom of other unusual features making up a syndrome. Usually, the attending personnel will consult the paediatrician and investigate the matter to determine if it is a single factor or part of something serious. Natal tooth on its own is harmless and is removed before the baby is discharged from the hospital.
Every baby is an individual and symptoms vary in each of them. The most common symptoms a baby displays which indicate the onset of teething include:
Fever, cranky and irritated behaviour, red and tender gums, readiness to chew on hard objects, drooling, rubbing the cheek against you, or pulling the ear, sucking on things lying around, change in eating and sleeping patterns. Some babies do have diarrhea, vomiting or rashes on the body but these are not because of teething directly. The baby has the urge to put everything in the mouth may suck on things which are not clean or not safe. Because of this the baby may develop infection and it results in diarrhoea and vomiting.
Teething may bring on some discomfort, but it should not make the baby sick. If you find your baby with high fever or diarrhea, or rashes, call your doctor.
Babies are individuals. There are individual differences in their make-up and reactions. It is a distressing period but the degree of distress differs from baby to baby. You will have to try to reduce distress in ways, and find out what works for your baby.
Teething rings are used by parents to give something to chew on for the baby. Chewing brings a little pressure on the gums which relieves discomfort and distracts them for a little while from their pain. Teething rings can be kept in the fridge to cool them which will give soothing massage to the distressed gums. Teething rings should not be frozen because it may damage your baby’s gums. Do not tie the ring around your baby’s neck. It could be choking hazard.
If your baby starts to put things like their fingers, your fingers, toys or other objects in mouth and chew on it, it is advisable to give him things to chew on which are healthy and not hazardous.
The baby can be given pieces of apple or carrot to chew on. Breadstick can also be given, because it becomes softer with saliva and baby cannot choke on it. Whenever baby is chewing on any piece of eatable, it is best to stick around in case the baby chokes on it. Them is teething gel.
Put a soft, wet baby towel in the fridge. Allow your baby to chew on the folded wet and cold towel. It will sooth the distress in the gums.
There are many over the counter products available for teething babies. One among them is teething gel. There no proofs that teething gel actually helps. But in case you decide to use it, make sure it authentic and approved by the state. Do not give gels which are used generally for people for pain relief. If you have to use gels, use the ones that are made for children especially. Teething gels made for babies are made with slightly local anaesthetic added. Speak to the pharmacist before buying, for their advice.
When your baby is in pain, you can give mild painkillers. Paracetamol for babies can be administered to teething babies of 3 months and above, to relieve pain. Ibuprofen for babies is available in various brand names in all the countries. Do not give aspirin in any amount to your baby. Always ask your pharmacist before getting any medicine for your baby without prescription. Ask your general practitioner if possible.
Distract your teething baby with play and activities. When the baby is in real distress, rub her gums with a clean finger. It will have a soothing effect.
Excessive drooling during teething produces rashes on the face of your baby. Wipe the saliva with a soft, clean napkin. It will help.
After the tooth has erupted, start taking care of the tooth from the beginning. It will set the right habit and will prevent later dental problems.
Register your baby for your local dental health care centre. Take an appointment and introduce the baby to your dentist in an informal environment. Get on with a social meeting with the dentist so that baby can trust the dentist. Good relationship with the dentist will begin a lifelong healthy relationship for the better oral care of the child.