Cutting tooth is a milestone in a baby’s life. It is the first sure shot indication that your munchkin is making his right of passage into a more complex stage of growth. So, he sails into this new stage of life after six months of age. It is the first instance when he experiences teething and especially when you will miss that chubby toothless grin that made you say awww… By the time he is three years older, you will notice his mouth full of bite-ready teeth waiting to chow down food, chew toys and everything that he can get into his mouth. Your baby will be grooming himself to use his teeth effectively and also in terms of oral hygiene. He may not do an excellent job of coping with his oral hygiene by self-care methods, but you are to assist him in keeping his teeth clean. So, this article will help you answer when do babies cut teeth and also other facts about teeth cutting.
Babies have the ability to develop teeth right from their birth or a little earlier sometimes when he is in your womb during pregnancy. Hold on! That does not mean he will have a fully functional set of teeth at the time of birth or at least anything that looks like teeth at all. The teeth referred here is in the form of tiny teeth buds. These act as a platform where the teeth grow in the future. Again there is a classification of babies and their teething stages. All babies are unique about their growth and body development, some babies will experience the teething stage as early a few weeks from the birth while others are late bloomers having their first teeth at beyond a year of being born, but normally babies begin their first teeth sprout at the 4-6 month time window.
For those babies who experience the teething early, you will notice the white caps. It forms in the frontal section of the bottom jaw, this will be first stage and slowly you will see other teeth sprouting in sequence. The formation of teeth usually begins from the front and ending at the mouth interior. By the age of three, your baby will already be a proud owner of her 20 milk teeth. The last teeth he will have in this stage are second molar that forms in the hind part of his mouth.
The teething stage is usually swift, and your baby will not feel it intensely stressful during the phase under regular circumstance. But, some babies are known to feel irritated and may feel like chewing or biting random objects in the house and would feel restless. They will experience trouble sleeping peacefully constantly waking up and being interrupted, your baby will refuse food and most prominently you will notice swelling in his mouth which can be hurting as the child attempts to eat. Your baby will also excessively drool during the peak of this stage as it can make him uncomfortable when his jaws come into contact with each other.
Do note that during the active teething stages of your baby, it is unlikely that he would experience any fever, vomiting or diarrhoea and if you see such symptoms it is certainly not due to the teething. Thus, it is suggested that you have your baby taken to his paediatrician for evaluation to check if he has any underlying conditions.
Your baby’s tooth eruption pattern begins in the front section especially on the lower jaw called the ‘white cap’ then he will have the other set appearing on the upper jaw. Next, he will have teeth developing on either side of the jaw and then finally the set is complete with the formation of molar teeth on the backside.
You cannot stop the pain nor accelerate the teething process, but you aren’t jobless either. Remember, when your baby is uncomfortable with the swelling, he will need some comforting and being able to pacify him is your role as a parent. You can buy him chew toys such as teething rings that are specially made for babies during the teething stages. When they feel like biting random objects, it will come handy and keep her relaxed. You can also use wet wash clothes that are cooled in the refrigerator. But do not keep the teething rings in the refrigerator, this will only aggravate the problem and make the pain worse. It is alright to give your baby cold foods like apple sauce and yogurt. It will relieve his pain and help him stay relaxed.
Apart from these there also other ways you can ease your baby’s discomfort. You can massage your baby’s gum; this will relax the blood flow and also will ease the muscle tissue around her gums. Wash your hands before you attempt to massage his gum, because if there are germs on your hand it can cause an array of illness to your child. The benefits of massaging your baby’s gums are when you apply pressure on her gums with your finger; it balances the pressure coming from the underneath that is caused by the teeth trying to sprout.
But what if the pain isn’t receding despite massaging my baby? Then you can take your baby to a paediatrician. After determining the cause and if he is irritated due to teething process, the doctor will prescribe acetaminophen, a pain reliever for the young children that is to be given in small dosages. Whatever you do, do not attempt self-medication on your baby as the results could be very catastrophic. Especially, if your baby is allergic to certain type of medicine, then it may cause an allergic attack. You are strictly advised not to rely upon over the counter gels and creams for children younger than two years of age. The US Food and Drug Administration(FDA) American and Academy of Paediatric Dentistry (AAPD) warns against use of numbing medications as they contain benzocaine that can cause a condition called methemoglobinemia, where the oxygen levels in the blood drop to dangerously low levels and can be life threatening to your baby. Hence, do not attempt self-medication on your baby, also because your baby’s immunity system may be affected if you aren’t careful.
Now that your baby’s teething stage is complete and when you notice tiny pearlies in his mouth, it’s time to assume responsibility to keep them tidy and in great health. Remember, oral hygiene is important to babies just as they are to adults. But here are the slight variations in the details when it comes to oral care. When the adult oral maintenance regimen involves flushing the mouth with clinically approved chemicals, the same cannot be said for the babies as they are delicate, and use of chemicals are not advised at such young age. Consult your baby’s paediatrician to seek opinion about the choice of toothpaste and confirm if you must prefer toothpaste that is fluoridated. If so, you can use a very small quantity of toothpaste on a soft bristled brush. And your choice of toothbrush must also be checked to make sure they are approved for use on babies. Do not use hard bristle toothbrush when cleaning your baby’s teeth because you can damage the gums and cause pain and swelling to your baby. Once your baby is two years and older, you can increase the quantity of the toothpaste to a pea size. It may not be easy to reach all the regions of the mouth because his teeth and mouth are tiny, and also because there are lots of those tiny pearlies. Hence, you can use dental floss to clean the inaccessible region. It is difficult or impossible if you tried to clean your baby’s mouth with a regular dental floss as he may not always cooperate. You can try to woo him by using colourful flossing sticks; the visual appeal will make him cooperate while you can floss it without concern.
Did you know just like adults, even babies are vulnerable to tooth decay? While your baby is preparing to sleep, do not give him a bottle of milk or baby formula. Remember, the sugar present in the formula and the milk is capable of damaging your baby’s milk teeth. It is also called as baby bottle decay or bottle rot. Make sure before your baby sleeps he has a clean mouth and if you must feed him, giving him water will be sufficient.
If you want to make sure he will stop being dependant on milk or formula before bedtime, you can switch from bottle to a cup. That is depending upon him coordinating with your intention. If you are attempting to get your baby to switch from bottle make sure you do not use sippy cups, this is because sippy cups can be equally bad for your baby’s teeth and can also cause sugars to deposit between the teeth and cause same effect as the bottle.
Once your baby is six months older, take him for a routine check-up with the paediatrician and check if he needs to be given fluoride supplements to prevent the cavities. These cavity preventing drops are prescribed if you live in places where you receive water that isn’t fluoridated.
Do not underestimate the importance of planning a visit to your dentist every six months to make an evaluation of your baby’s oral health. His first visit to the dentist can be done when he is a year old, this will allow making a risk assessment whether he stands a chance of developing a cavity. If there are signs or early indication, it is better if you visited the dentist along with your baby again which is approximately six months after the teething or before his first birthday whichever is to come first.
Your child will learn and adapt to self-oral care by the age of 18 months from birth. But know this, your little one may not have the necessary concentration and dexterity to coordinate and control the toothbrush to use it effectively. You will be needed to assist him till he learns to get a handle on things.
Not many children will like and adapt to the taste of your typical adult toothpaste. There are so many brands that you can experiment; there are brands that make toothpaste exclusively for young children luring them with free goodies and toys. You child may prefer such toothpaste as well.
Children can sometimes be reckless about eating sweets at parties or when you aren’t paying attention. Do not reprimand him as he is naturally inclined to choose sweets over other types of food. But you must enforce the healthy habit of cleaning the mouth after the meal. Train your baby to pay attention to his oral health by making him brush teeth after meal regularly.
It is very normal for your baby to experience some delay in teething, but if your baby still have not had a sprouting of his first teeth beyond 18 months of age, it may be an indication of an impending issue. You need not panic yet, but consult your child’s paediatrician or a dentist to check if his health is functioning well.
Similarly, some premature babies may reach their teething stage a little early. Like I mentioned earlier, you need not panic as it is considered to be normal.
Babies having some difficulty during the teething stage are considered normal, but in addition to the symptoms and signs mentioned earlier, if your baby is seen to be crying uncontrollably, then you must not delay a consultation with a doctor as he could be having a possible infection. He may need medical intervention at the earliest. Unlike these occasional instances, teething process is not something you should be concerned about as it is normal for any child being born and will be gone before you notice.
The next milestone for your child is the replacement of milk teeth with the final pair of permanent teeth. Your child will begin strolling toting a bright, lasting smile from the age of six.
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