One of the major developmental milestones in the first year of the baby is teething. It is a natural process in which small teeth, called the primary teeth, erupt from the gum. When a baby is born, it has 20 primary teeth inside the gum, which is not visible. Once the baby is six months, these teeth break out from the gum and become visible. This is called the milk teeth.
Six months is the average age for teething. Some babies start teething early on, whereas, for others, the teething starts late. The teething age depends on the family pattern.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Teething?
Even before the teeth erupt and come out, you can make out that the baby has started teething from the various signs and symptoms. The baby starts showing these symptoms several days before the actual eruption of the teeth.
Excess salivation or drooling is one of the most common symptoms of teething. The saliva dribbles down, soaking the bib and even the dress. This excess salivation happens mainly to soothe the gum that becomes tender during this stage.
You should wipe down the saliva around the mouth and keep the area clean. Sometimes rashes might appear around the mouth because of the presence of bacteria in the saliva. Keeping the area clean is the only way to prevent infections.
Biting and gnawing
Babies experience a lot of irritation when the teeth erupt from the gum. To overcome the irritation, they bite and gnaw at whatever object they get. It can be your finger or a toy.
To overcome the irritation and soothe their gums, you can give them something cold to bite. You can offer fruit or vegetable popsicle, cold teething rings or chewing beads to bite and soothe their gums.
Teething fever is a slight increase in body temperature when new teeth grow. This is totally different from a normal fever which will usually be accompanied by body pain and a runny nose. Teething fever is caused when the teeth cut through the delicate tissues in the gum.
But if by any chance, the temperature rises to a very high level, it could be a sign of infection. You should take the baby to the doctor without delay.
Cranky and irritable
The eruption of teeth from the gum causes a lot of discomfort to the baby, which he cannot express. Because of this, the baby becomes very cranky. The only thing you can do is cuddle the baby and provide him with a lot of comforts. This helps to calm the baby down.
There are various causes of diarrhoea at this stage. One reason could be the increased salivation during the teething stage can cause the stool to become loose. Another reason could be that since the baby puts everything in the mouth, an infection can occur, resulting in diarrhoea.
How To Relieve Toothing Discomfort In The Baby?
Give teething ring
Teething rings are made of silicone and filled with fluid or gel. The baby can hold the ring in his hand and bite it to get relief from the discomfort.
It is best to keep the ring in the refrigerator and make it cool before giving it to the baby. But do not keep it in the freezer as it becomes hard and difficult for the baby to bite. You should also remember to sterilise the teething ring every time after using it.
Offer mesh feeder
The mesh feeder is a small mesh bag with a handle. You can fill the bag with soft fruit like banana and give it to the baby. But make sure that the fruit is cold so that the baby get relief from the discomfort. The mesh provides the right surface for the baby to bite and, at the same time, ensures that the baby does not choke on the fruit.
Give a washcloth
If you do not have any of the above products, you can offer a clean washcloth to the baby for biting. Wet the cloth and keep it in the fridge to make it cold. You can then hand over the cold cloth to the baby for biting. While giving a washcloth for biting, remember to change the cloth every now and then to prevent the chances of infection.
Besides cloth, you can also give a cold metal spoon for biting. But make sure that you are around while offering a spoon as the baby might hurt himself biting it.
Massaging the gum is another effective way to provide relief from teething difficulties. Always massage the gum with a clean hand. Do the massage in a circular motion for better effect.
Most babies get relief with any of the above methods. But if nothing is working out, you should take the baby to a doctor. The doctor will prescribe a pain reliever to ease the discomfort. But medication should be used only as a last resort when home care methods are not helpful.
In Which Order Does The Teeth Erupt?
The primary teeth erupt in the following order.
6-12 months – Central incisors.
9-16 months – Lateral incisors.
16 – 23 months – Canine teeth.
13-19 months – First molar.
22- 24 months – Second molar.
The third molar, called the wisdom teeth, erupts only during your teen years. Thus, a baby will have a set of 20 primary teeth that starts shedding once they are 5 to 6 years old.
Teething is a major developmental milestone that generally occurs between 6 and 8 months. The process continues until the baby is two years.
Though, as parents, it might be thrilling for you to see the tiny pearls in the baby’s mouth, it may not be so pleasant for the baby. The baby will experience a lot of discomfort and pain when the small teeth erupt from the gum. Besides offering them teething products, you should also shower a lot of love and comfort on the baby so that they can tide over this phase without much difficulty.