What is teething?
Teething is when an infant’s first teeth (the deciduous teeth, often called “baby teeth”) erupt through the gums. Teething usually begins between six and twelve months, but it can start as early as three months or as late as fourteen months.
When do babies start teething?
Most babies start teething between six and twelve months, but some can begin as early as three months or as late as fourteen months.
Signs and symptoms of teething
The signs and symptoms of teething can vary from baby to baby but often include:
- Drooling more than usual
- Biting or gnawing on complex objects
- Trying to put everything in their mouth
- Being more irritable than usual
- Having a low fever (less than 102°F)
How can I help my baby during teething?
There are a few things you can do to help your baby during the teething process, including:
- Rubbing or massaging your baby’s gums with your finger
- Giving them a cool, wet cloth to chew on
- Putting a frozen (not too cold!) object, such as a clean washcloth, in their mouth
- Give them over-the-counter pain medication if recommended by your doctor.
Order of Tooth Eruption
The teeth usually erupt in the following order:
- Central incisors (bottom front teeth)
- Lateral incisors (top front teeth)
- Canine teeth or cuspids (pointy teeth next to the lateral incisors)
- First molars (flat teeth in the back of the mouth)
- Second molars (flat teeth in the back of the mouth)
When should I take my baby to the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you take your child to the dentist by their first birthday or as soon as their teeth start to come in. This initial visit is essential so that your dentist can check your child’s teeth and gums and give you tips on caring for their teeth.
Caring for your baby’s teeth
It’s essential to start taking care of your baby’s teeth as soon as possible. This means brushing their teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water at least once a day. You can also use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on your toothbrush, but be sure to spit it out and not swallow it.
You should also clean your baby’s teeth and gums after each feeding, using a soft cloth or gauze pad. And, avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice, as this can cause tooth decay.
When should I start flossing my baby’s teeth?
You should start flossing your baby’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth that touch each other. Use a piece of dental floss about 18 inches long, and wrap most of it around your middle finger. Gently insert the floss between your child’s teeth, using a back-and-forth motion. Be sure to use a new section of floss for each tooth.
Talk to your dentist if you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s teeth. They can give you more tips on caring for your child’s teeth and help you decide when to schedule their next dental visit.
Treatments to Avoid
There are a few treatments that you should avoid when caring for your baby’s teeth, as they can be harmful. These include:
- Using a home remedy such as rubs or oils on the gums, as these can contain harmful ingredients
- Putting aspirin on the gums, as this can burn the tissue
- Putter screen time before bed.
The AAP recommends that you take your child to the family dentist by their first birthday or when their teeth start to come in. This initial visit is essential so that your family dentist can check your child’s teeth and gums and give you tips on caring for their teeth. It would be best to take your child to the dentist every six months for a routine check-up and teeth cleaning.
Teething Necklaces and Bracelets
There is no evidence suggesting that teething necklaces or bracelets effectively relieve teething symptoms. These jewelry items can be a choking hazard, so they should be avoided.
If your baby is experiencing discomfort from teething, talk to your doctor about safe and effective treatments. They may recommend over-the-counter pain medication or suggest other ways to soothe your baby’s gums.
Additional tips for caring for your baby’s teeth can be found on the American Academy of Pediatrics website.
The Bottom Line
Teething is a normal process that all babies go through as their teeth come in. While it can be uncomfortable for your little one, there are ways to help ease their discomfort. Be sure to brush their teeth twice a day, clean their gums after feedings, and avoid putting them to bed with a bottle.