Teething is when children’s teeth start to erupt from their gum line. This usually happens when children are 6 to 12 months old. By the time they are 3, they will have 20 teeth. This set of teeth are often called their “baby teeth” or their primary teeth. Usually before babies’ teeth are visible, they show signs of teething. Parents may start to notice these symptoms of teething:
- Drooling – This can start between the ages of 2 to 4 months of age, and can continue throughout a child’s teething journey.
- Irritability – If your baby is unusually fussy, it could indicate that they are teething. They may even have trouble staying asleep at night.
- Low grade fever – A fever that is caused by teething will not exceed 100.4. If they have a fever higher than that, they are most likely sick and need to be seen by their pediatrician.
- Inflammation and redness in their gums – As their teeth push through their gums, they may become inflamed and red.
Babies may experience some uncomfortableness during the teething process, but teething does not cause babies to become sick. If your child experiences diarrhea, vomiting, or has a fever over 100.4, take them to see their pediatrician as soon as possible.
Teething can be a stressful time, but there are ways to reduce the pain your baby might be feeling. Here are some tips to reduce their tooth pain:
- Rub their gums. – You can use a chilled, clean, cloth to massage their gums to ease the pain.
- Chill a teething ring. – It is important that teething rings are not frozen, but a chilled teething ring can provide comfort.
- Let them chew on cold foods. – Distract your child from the pain they are experiencing with their favorite chilled food. They will enjoy a snack while also finding relief.
- Consult their pediatrician when using over the counter medicines. – Acetaminophen and ibuprofen should only be given based on the recommendations of your child’s pediatrician.
Good oral health must be practiced as early as possible. This helps to create dental routines that will help your child’s teeth grow healthy and strong. To take care of their teeth parents should:
- Wash their gums with a soft cloth. – Babies should have their gums washed with a clean, soft, cloth twice a day. This helps to remove any milk or food they may have stuck on their gums.
- Even if your child has only one tooth, brush it! – Brush their teeth (or tooth!) with a soft bristled brush. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride twice a day.
- Schedule their first dental visit around their 1st – You can schedule an appointment once they get their first tooth, but it is important to schedule their first visit by their first birthday. This helps to establish familiarity with going to the dentist early. During the visit the dentist will make sure their teeth are developing as they should, and they can provide information to help with your child’s dental hygiene.
Remember: you are helping to create healthy dental habits for your child. It’s important to start early to ensure that their teeth grow in healthy and strong!