While parents love to see their little ones grow and meet milestones, teething can be frustrating to a baby and their parents. During this time you will see your baby’s first teeth, the primary teeth, emerging through the gums. This is a painful process for your little one and understand what to expect may help this process be a little less painful.
Your baby may start teething around 6 months old, but do not be shocked or worried if it happens sooner or later. It is normal to see teeth emerging from 3 months to a year. At around 3 years old, your now toddler should have 20 primary teeth.
You may notice your baby is a bit more fussy than normal. As frustrating as this can get sometimes, keep in mind that you baby doesn’t know any other way to express the pain they are experiencing. At this time you baby’s gums are sore and swelling as the tooth begins to position itself. This normally starts 3 to 5 days before the tooth emerges, and will begin to disappear as the tooth finally breaks through the skin. Don’t worry if you just so happen to notice your baby magically has a tooth one day, some babies may not show any symptoms at all.
A slight fever is not uncommon during this time due to swollen, tender gums. If your baby’s temperature is high or diarrhea is present, it may be best to contact your pediatrician to rule out any other issue.
In order to find some sort of self soothing relief, you may find your baby chewing on their fingers or toys, while drooling Niagara Falls. Drooling can cause a mild rash on your baby’s face or chest, don’t worry this is normal and it will go away soon enough. Another issue you may be experiencing is getting them to eat or drink due to their mouths hurting. If you feel the any of these issues are too severe, call your pediatrician to set up an appointment.
This process can be rough for everyone. Your baby is in pain, and you may feel wish that you could make everything better for them. Here are a few things you can do to help:
- With a cold teething toy or clean finger, gently massage your baby’s gums for around 2 minutes at a time. Your baby may not find this welcoming at first, but most babies do find this soothing.
- Gather safe teething toys, like a teething rings, for your little one.
- If necessary, over-the-counter pain relievers are available for teething. Make sure you choose the correct one that is labeled specifically to your baby’s weight and age. Be sure to read and following all directions, and consult with your pediatrician further for any questions or concerns you may have.
It has been brought to attention that aspirin should not be given to anyone under the age of 20, due to it being linked to Reye Syndrome. This is a rare, but serious disease.
Another warning to keep in mind it the use of teething gel. While this gel can numb the baby’s gums, making teething less painful, it can also numb the baby’s throat. When the throat is numb, it becomes difficult to swallow. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, also warns that the medicine in the gel may also cause harm to a baby. Please consult further with your pediatrician
Now that your baby has their first tooth, or teeth, it is time to schedule a dentist appointment. Your pediatrician may be able to point you in the direction of a dentist for your little one. In the meantime, here are things you can get started on:
Buying a toothbrush and toothpaste. You can find an infant toothbrush and toothpaste at a local store. Be sure to buy items that are specifically for your baby’s age and size. Child and adult toothpaste can cause stomach and mouth irritations for such a small baby. Use water and a grain sized bit of toothpaste to brush your baby’s teeth. This may be very welcomed by your baby, but they will get use to it.
- If you notice your baby’s teeth are starting to touch, you can begin flossing them.
- As your baby nears the age of 2, you can start teaching them to spit while brushing. You should avoid giving them too much water to prevent them from wanting to swallow.
- At 3 years of age and up, your little one should be using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
- Any children under the age of 6 should always be supervised while brushing their teeth to prevent choking and swallowing too much toothpaste.
Keep in mind that your baby is not safe from tooth decay. If you are not practicing good eating habits with you little one, you are putting the at risk for a condition known as bottle mouth. As soothing and convenient it may be to put your baby to sleep with a bottle, it can also be harmful. Just think about all of the sugars from juice or bacteria from milk sitting on their teeth for hours. These are harmful and can eat away at the tooth enamel. Discolored, pocked or pitted teeth are signs of this issues, and severe cases can result in cavities. When cavities occur, you baby may end up having to have their teeth prematurely pulled. This means your baby will have to wait until their permanent teeth grow in. This can be prevented by not allowing your little one to fall asleep with a bottle, set specific times for bottles and keep up with brushing their teeth. You can also try switching to a sippy cup at 6 months old.
You can also find more information in our article, How To Deal With Teething
If you have questions or concerns about your baby’s oral health, please give MacKoul Pediatrics a call at 239-573-2001
MacKoul Pediatrics is an amazing local pediatrics office in Cape Coral, FL where caring, compassionate doctors and nurses work with you to keep your children as healthy as possible. MacKoul cares for children from birth to college age, from Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, and beyond.
February 24, 2017