Teething (Baby Teeth)

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Teething is the process whereby babies grow milk teeth when they are around 6 to 8 months old.  It is a notoriously difficult time when the baby is likely to be in pain and more vocal than usual.  Sometimes babies will be born with one or more teeth, this isn’t something to worry about.  The rest of the teeth are likely to develop normally. 

Your babies milk teeth are developed when they are in the womb, but are buried under the gums until such time as they might be needed.  When this occurs, usually between 6 and 8 months of age, chemicals are released into the gum to allow the teeth to pass through.  This can cause some pain and aching which in turn might be quite distressing to your baby.

The bottom front baby teeth are usually the first to show, followed by the front two at the top and then the incisors.  After this the molars show at about 12-14 months old, then the canines at 16-18 months of age.  A full set of teeth is normally completed when your baby is a bit older, about two or two and a half years old.   
The ease with which the teething process occurs is very unique, some children don’t seem to feel anything whereas others appear to be in a lot of pain and discomfort.

Teething Symptoms

  • Heightened temperature.  This will only be slight, if their temperature reaches 38C or above then you ought to seek immediate medical attention
  • Rosy cheeks.
  • Sore looking, angry gums
  • Increased saliva production
  • Lost interest in food
  • Chewing on objects
  • Ear rubbing
  • Restlessness

Teething Refief

  • Gels – these are available at pharmacies or doctors and contain small amounts of local anaesthetic to numb the gums while teething.  Some also contain antiseptic to ensure no infections occur while the gums are vulnerable.  You must ensure that you get a gel specifically designed for babies as other gels are not suitable.  To apply the gel simply rub onto the gum with your finger.
  • Teething ring – these are a pliable material which allows your child to chew on something that isn’t going to cause any damage.  Sometimes they can be placed in the fridge to increase their soothing capacity. 
  • Fruit and Vegetables – your child is likely to chew anything they come into contact with.  It would be best if this is something healthy and cool such as raw fruit or vegetables.  Apple or carrot are a popular choice.
  • Rusks – alike to fruit and vegetables, rusks are a healthy option for your baby to chew on. 
  • Painkillers – these can be bought from your pharmacy, and often contain small amounts of Paracetemol or Iboprofen.  These are specifically designed for children, other forms of pain medications should not be used.  Children under the age of 3 months should not be given any form of medication without advice from your doctor.
  • Cold drinks – the best would be water but any liquid that doesn’t contain sugar can ease their gums and help with increased saliva production.
  • Distraction – playing with your child is a good way to help them not focus on any discomfort they might be in.
  • Rash treatment – keeping their face clean and as dry as possible will help stop any rashes from forming. 

Brushing Baby Teeth

You ought to start to brush the teeth as soon as they appear.  It is important to practice good dental hygiene as early as possible.  You can use a specifically designed toothbrush that has as very small head and very soft bristles or a small piece of cloth to brush their teeth.  Also a small amount of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a small pea.