One of the most important stages of the development of the baby is the teething and the transition of a baby having a gummy grin to one having a mouthful of white teeth takes around three years. Neither the length of teething nor the pain involved in the process is unpredictable and it varies from person to person. Some babies have their first teeth in third month itself but some others start their teething in seventh month or even beyond that.
In very rare cases teething appears even before third month. In certain babies the lump in the gum becomes visible for several weeks before the tooth actually comes out but in certain others there won’t be any observable physical symptoms of teething and teeth may come out suddenly. Heredity plays a major role in determining the teething time and pattern of the teething of the baby.
How Many Milk Teeth Appears
For a baby there will be twenty milk teeth as compared to thirty two permanent teeth in an adult. Most of the kids have their full set of primary teeth by the time they are two or three years. The actual foundation for teeth starts in the mother’s womb itself and the babies develop tooth buds during this period and about one in 2000 babies are born with teeth. The normal teething pattern is as follows.
During six or seventh month incisors which are the two teeth of the central bottom or two teeth of central top appears followed by two more incisors each at the bottom and top and thus making four teeth in the bottom and four teeth in the top and this happens between seventh to ninth months. Between ten to fourteen months the first molars which are the double teeth used for chewing appears and then between fifteen to eighteen months the fangs or pointed teeth called the canines emerges. The second set of double teeth called second molars emerges at the back between two to three years.
Symptoms of Teething
Teething is a really a tough time to both the babies and the parents. Most of the babies get irritated and they have discomfort during the teething period while some of them won’t exhibit any pain or irritation. Following are some of the symptoms during the teething period.
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Usually babies start to drool when they are three to four months old and this is due to teething which stimulates drooling. Normally all the babies drools but at the time of teething the amount of drooling increases and certain babies even develop rashes on their chin, neck and chest due to the continuous contact with saliva and wet clothes. These rashes can be prevented by either using bibs or spreading a layer of petroleum jelly on these areas and wipe the chin and neck frequently with a soft cloth. The excess saliva at times cause gag or cough in babies and there is nothing to worry about as long as the baby have no flu, cold or fever. Excess saliva that is swallowed by the baby may loosen the stool and cause diarrhea in certain babies. If you notice the presence of mucous or blood in the stool then better consult a doctor.
During the time when the first tooth appears closer to the surface, the gums of the baby becomes swollen and tender and begins to sore and it cause painful sensation in the baby and makes the baby fussy. This discomfort and pain is usually more during the emergence of first teeth and this is because the babies get habituated to the sensations. The discomfort may also occur when the molars appears as they are big teeth. Every time a new tooth appears babies becomes irritated and the range of irritability varies from baby to baby.
Biting and Gnawing
Babies whose milk teeth are in eruption stage may have tendency to gnaw or bite on anything that comes around their mouth. They are doing this to relive the pressure that they feel under their gums with the counter pressure of biting or gnawing.
Cheek Rubbing and Ear Pulling
Some babies pull their ear or rub their cheeks while teething and this is because the pain in the gum while having the back molars affects the ear and teeth. But ensure that pulling the ear is not due to ear infection.
Low Grade Fever
A low grade fever is seen in some babies and but is not common with all. In certain cases fever may be due to the gum infection. Some other babies’ shows runny nose and flu like symptoms and is more often seen in babies who have the bait of putting their hands in the mouth often.
Most of the babies may have sleeping problems while teething and is more during the time when the first set of teeth appears and when molars emerge.
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This is because babies’ experience pain during day time as well as at night and they wake up when the pain becomes too much.
Even though teething phase exhibits these symptoms, parents should confirm and rule out all other possibilities for disease.
Remedies for Teething
Parents can do nothing to help the teeth come out quickly but they can console their babies. Give the teething babies teething rings or chilled rubber teething toys or water filled teething toys to chew and ensure that the rings are neat and clean. If the babies show much discomfort, then keep a wet and cold wash cloth on the swollen gums or feed them with cold yogurt, pureed peaches, applesauce etc. If the baby is having problem with sucking then give liquid food in cup. Massaging the teeth with cold and clean fingers help to relieve the discomfort or alternatively massage the gums with a mixture made out of one drop clove oil with two tablespoon of safflower oil. The massaging can be repeated two to three times a day. If the baby is having too much discomfort then doctors may prescribe acetaminophen for relieving the pain. Medicines should be used only as per the direction of the doctor.
The teeth of the babies should be kept clean and there is no need to brush the teeth from the first year onwards. But it is ideal to wipe out the teeth and gums with a wet and neat gauze before bed time. When the baby becomes 18 months old, then start the brushing and slowly teach them to brush properly and it may takes two to three years. Once in a year check the baby’s teeth with a pediatric dentist.
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