It is with great anticipation that parents expect the arrival of the very first tooth. But the process of teething might not be as happy an occasion as hoped for. The infant cries, is irritable and doesn’t sleep. To the caring parents it seems that there is nothing they can do to make the teething process less uncomfortable. Or is there? In this article you can read about when the first baby teeth can be expected, what symptoms you should be prepared for in your teething toddler, how you can soothe your child while the teeth are erupting and how to care for the new teeth.
When does the teething start?
Normally the teething starts when the lower central front teeth break through the gum. This intitial teething normally happens when the child is 6-7 months old. If your child is still teethless after 1 year there is no need to worry, though. If the teething has still not begun at the age of 18 months, the child should be examined by a dentist.
The last baby teeth to erupt are the big teeth in the back. They normally come around the age 1½ to 3 years. Interestingly, children who are born too early, often start teething later than usual. A set of baby teeth consists of 20 teeth.
The first signs of teething
Just before a tooth erupts, the gum will normally turn white and feel hard. A red and swollen gum can also be a sign that a tooth is on it’s way.
While your child is teething he or she might:
- Have a tendency to put things in his or her mouth and bite on them.
- Drool more
- Have problems eating
Physical symptoms that your child is teething can be:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Redness of the bottom
- Fever (if the temperature remains above 38 degrees for more than 24 hours it is not caused by teething and the child should be examined by a doctor.)
What can you do to relieve teething symptoms?
There isn’t much you can do about the physical symptoms, except comfort and nurse the child a little extra. If the child is very bothered by the teething symptoms, a small dose of paracetamol can help. In some places it is possible to buy mixtures for children in the right doses that can be mixed with the child’s milk or water. If it is your first time to use paracetamol with your child, it would be better to contact your dentist or doctor first to make sure of the dosage.
If the gum is itching this can often be soothed by using a teething ring – preferably from the refrigerator. A teething baby might also appreciate washed carrots or cucumbers from the refrigerator.