What is Teething
Baby teething is the process of the eruption of the baby's primary teeth through the gums.
The baby teeth start to form even before birth, from the 3rd month of pregnancy. Although the baby teeth aren't visible when a child is born, both the primary and permanent teeth are partially formed below the gums.
When do babies start teething?
Usually, between six months and 1 year old, the deciduous teeth begin to push through the gums. But, there are no strict rules on when do babies start teething. Some babies start teething early — around three months old, and some others much later. In rare cases, a baby's first tooth is already visible at birth, while some babies may even be a year old before having their first tooth.
A child's first baby tooth generally breaks through the gums at about 5 or 6 months of age. The first primary teeth to appear are the two bottom front teeth (central incisors). Teething continues up to the age of three, until the full set of 20 baby teeth has erupted, and it can be a very painful and stressful period for your infant.
Baby Teething symptoms
- Teething babies may become nervous and irritated, cry all the time, suddenly seem to lose appetite or/and start drooling more than normal.
- When teething begins, your baby may have swollen gums or even bruised, where a tooth is about to break through. As the teeth are growing, the cells in the gum tissue above the tooth begin to break down, which helps the tooth slide through. In rare cases, some blood may be spotted when the tooth erupts.
- Another symptom of infant teething problems is sleeplessness, as babies have difficulty to sleep due to the pain. Some babies become more fussy and irritable at night, when the lack of other distractions may make the pain more noticeable.
- Biting on everything they get in their hands is one of the most clear symptoms of teething babies. The pressure from biting comforts the pain and also helps the break down of the gum tissue above the teeth.
- Although mild diarrhea or low grade fever caused by gum inflammation have been reported as possible symptoms of teething babies, it is advisable not to consider them as normal and to contact your pediatrician for consultation.
Baby teething symptoms are more intense during the eruption of the very first teeth (before the baby gets accustomed to the sensation of teething pain) and later when the molars come in because they cause stronger pain and discomfort due to their larger size.
Teething pain relief
To ease teething pain of babies :
- Teething babies love to bite and chew everything, especially smooth and hard objects. Both, massaging the gums and biting, relieve the teething pain by equalizing the pressure on the gums as the tooth below is pressing outwards.
- Baby teething rings are widely used to soothe a baby's teething pain. Certain rings can be cooled in the fridge, to provide more comfort.
- Baby Pacifiers can also help to ease the sensation of pressure.
- Teething tablets and gels are also used to relief teething symptoms.
- Giving "teething biscuits" or other hard sugary foods to teething babies is not recommended as they increase the danger of developing tooth decay.
Precautions for teething babies
- Teething rings and pacifiers made up of separate pieces fused together may become unattached and may cause choking. Always use one-piece baby pacifiers and rings.
- Constantly check the pacifier and if it is torn, immediately replace it (a broken piece may choke the child).
- If you use a chilled ring, remember to take it out of the freezer before it becomes too cold. Frozen teething rings become very hard and may bruise your child's gums or cause a frostbite to lips and gums.
- Never tie a teething ring or a baby pacifier around your child's neck as this can create a strangulation danger.
- Ask your pediatrician before giving an over the counter medicine to your baby for teething pain relief.
- Never give to infants pacifiers that have been dipped in sweet liquids. Sugar from such liquids is the main cause of early childhood caries.
- Children who suck pacifiers may be more prone to thumb sucking. Finger, thumb sucking and pacifier sucking can all create similar dental problems (crooked teeth etc.) However, it is better to suck the pacifier than the thumb because a pacifier habit is often easier to break.
Before trying any type of baby teething remedies, listed above or suggested by family and friends, it is highly recommended that you contact your dentist or pediatrician first.