Teeth can begin to erupt (enter the mouth and become visible) from about 6 months of age, however all children are different. As the tooth gets to the surface the gum opens up to allow the tooth to come through. Babies are born with 20 teeth, ten up the top and ten down the bottom.
Teething is a natural occurrence, which may not cause any problems for your baby. However, often babies do experience discomfort during this time. Teething can be a time of frustration for babies and parents.
Signs and Symptoms
- Drooling more.
- Wanting to chew on things.
- Tender and swollen gums.
- Periods of irritability.
- Sleep disturbance.
- Not feeding as well as usual.
- Tugging at their ears on the same side as the tooth coming through.
- Rising temperature, slightly higher than normal. However, teething doesn’t usually cause a high fever. This may be due to something else and you should see your doctor.
Tips to help your baby while teething
- Wipe the drool from your babies face to prevent rashes from developing.
- Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger.
- Give your baby something firm like a sugar free rusk to suck on.
- Give your baby something to chew on, such as rubber teething rings that have been cooled in the freezer (avoid liquid ones as they may break or leak).
- Wet washcloth placed in the freezer for 30 mins.
- If your baby is irritable and appears to have pain, you can give medication such as paracetamol or nurofen as instructed by your doctor and according to the directions.
If your baby still seems unhappy or distressed, you should have them seen by your doctor or maternal child health nurse. Teething may not be the problem.
General care of baby teeth
As soon as your babies teeth arrive you can begin to clean them. Wipe your baby’s gums daily with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze, or brush them gently with a soft, infant-sized toothbrush and water. Toothpaste should not be used in babies under 18 months old unless advised by your dentist.
It is recommended that all children have had a visit to the dentist by the age of two.
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