For any parent with a baby, there are countless ways in which you are encouraged to support its growth and to ensure that he or she is healthy. Your baby’s health is a big responsibility, and that includes their dental health, starting from the point at which their baby teeth start appearing.
A baby teething can be a distressing time for them, and for parents, it can also be a source of angst, especially in those moments when nothing you seem to do can diminish your baby’s discomfort. Thankfully, this period passes, and your baby will eventually have their full set of baby teeth. Throughout all that time they will be relying on you to ensure those teeth and their gums remain healthy.
If your baby’s development is at a point where their teething is imminent, here is some advice that will help both you as their parent, and in particular, your baby, get through their teething with as little stress as possible.
Most babies start showing signs of their first teeth coming through from around the age of six months. although some start as early as three months and for the later developers, it can begin at ten months. Baby teeth will continue to grow over the next eighteen to twenty-four months and all twenty of their baby teeth should be fully developed by the time they are three years old.
As we have mentioned already, teething can be stressful for babies and a concern for parents who obviously hate to see their child upset. Typical behaviours and symptoms in babies when teething include:
- Being extra cranky
- Crying more than normal
- Not eating as well as they usually would
- Not sleeping or waking up during the night more often
- Increased drooling
- Increased frequency of filled nappies
- Sucking or chewing on objects such as their bib, dummy, or toys
- Sucking on their thumb
- Flushed cheeks
- Increased temperature
Some babies will experience one of these, some a few, and others, unfortunately, may experience most of them. Some will come and go too, so do not expect the same symptoms to be consistent throughout the entire period of your baby teething.
Soothing Your Teething Baby
No doubt you will receive lots of different advice telling you how you should soothe your teething baby. The one you must not be tempted to follow is to pour a dash of whisky into their bottle to make them sleep. Yes, unbelievably, some will suggest you give your baby alcohol. Please do not! Instead, try one or more of the following:
- Rub their gums with your clean finger
- Let them bite on something cold such as a frozen or chilled teething ring, or dummy
- Give them something sugar-free they can suck on, like a rusk
- Feed them food that requires little or no chewing
Educating Your Child
This stage of your child’s development is critical for educating them on the importance of caring for their teeth and gums. You should have already taken them to the dentist for their first check-up when they started teething and you will be gently brushing their teeth, to begin with. There will come a point as they grow when it is time to teach them to brush their teeth by themselves. Make it fun, and something they see as good to do, rather than a chore.