What Parents need to know about Teething Symptoms
At some point, your baby will start to grow teeth. Yes, babies aren’t born with teeth. Usually, except in rare cases. It’s important as a parent to know what steps to take to make the phase comfortable and easier for your little one and even for you so you are not overwhelmed with stress.
Parenthood is easier when you know what to expect during teething and how to go about it. The teething period is that phase mothers dread because it is usually accompanied by a lot of crankiness and restlessness, crying spells, and discomfort in the baby. This guide wil help you better understand what teething is, whar are the teething symptoms and much more.
What is teething?
This is simply the eruption of milk teeth from the gums of a baby. It is called Odontiasis by dental professionals. Teething is a painful process though the pain is not exactly unbearable, because babies are not used to discomfort, they tend to suffer more.
The teeth that erupt usually develop when the baby is in the womb around the 6th week of pregnancy. It’s covered by the enamel during the fourth to sixth months.
When do babies start teething?
Babies usually develop teeth between 6-12 months according to the American Dental Association. Although, it’s also possible that some babies could erupt their first tooth at three to four months earlier than most, while some might also not erupt their first tooth until their first birthday-later than average. Genetics plays a vital role in the eruption of teeth. If Parents erupted their teeth later, it's more likely that the child would also erupt lately manner
Babies born prematurely often start teething later than full-term babies.
Teeth usually erupt in pairs, teething begins with the eruption of the two lower central incisors(the two bottom front teeth). Then it is followed by the upper central incisors and upper lateral incisors four to eight weeks later. The lower lateral incisors will appear a month later.
The first set of molars, upper and lower sprouts around 13-19 months, then the canine teeth are also known as the or eye teeth show after around 16-23 months. The final set of teeth to erupt is the second set of upper and lower molars which grow between 23-33 months. At the end of all these, your baby should have 20 fully erupted and grown teeth.
Every child is different and their teething does not necessarily have to follow this calendar as this is just an average teething timeline. No milestones follow the calendar. So do not be worried if your baby’s teeth do not exactly arrive on schedule.
How long do teething symptoms last?
Teething symptoms typically last a couple of days until the tooth finally erupts. The pain associated with teething reduces as more teeth sprout until your baby grows all of their baby’s teeth. The time between each set of teeth erupting affords your baby some reprieve from pain and discomfort.
Teething as a whole takes about 18 months on average, this means by two to three years of age, most children would already have all of their baby teeth.
If your baby experiences the pain of teething for long, is in lots of discomforts and no teeth are erupting, please consult your pediatrician.
There are a couple of signs that will indicate to you as a parent that your baby has begun teething.
Swollen and sore gums
When the teething is about to erupt, your child’s gum will be slightly swollen, tender, bumpy, and may be lighter or darker in color. The sore gums will be uncomfortable, itchy, and painful for your baby. This is when you discover your baby chewing on his hands and on objects he can grasp.
Increase in temperature
A slight increase in your baby’s temperature may signify teething, most importantly when it is accompanied by other symptoms of teething. Please note that an increase in temperature is different from a fever. If your child has a fever and it won’t subside after two to three days, speak to your pediatrician.
Some babies would develop a mild rash around their lips, if they are of teething age, it might be possible that teething is about to begin. This is a result of excessive drooling which irritates the skin around his mouth.
Disrupted sleeping and eating patterns
As teething begins, sleep and eating patterns might be disrupted in your baby. This is usually due to the pain and discomfort that accompanies teething. This might be also due to other reasons, but if your baby is of teething age, there is no cause for alarm. They will adjust with time.
Because the pain of teething can sometimes be felt in the ears so babies tend to pull their ears when teething. However, if the ear pulling continues without the eruption of any tooth/teeth, and continues with a high fever, please consult your pediatrician as it could be a sign of ear infection.
Although babies begin to drool when they are about three months old because they start producing more saliva, teething could also be responsible for drooling. Bibs can help keep your clothes dry. It is usually worn around the neck.
It is important to note that the symptoms vary for babies. Abnormal symptoms of teething are vomiting, very high temperature, rashes, cough, and congestion.
Teething is a painful process but it shouldn’t make your baby sick.
Teething Side effects
Teething though an essential stage in the growth of a baby comes with a couple of side effects.
Side effects of teething include:
- Fussiness or Irritability
- Restlessness and Crankiness
- Disturbed sleep
We wouldn’t say there are exact treatments for teething, but there are remedies that can help your baby and relieve them of teething pain.
Counter pressure or gum massage
Babies will chew on hard objects/surfaces during teething, the pressure from chewing on these objects can offer pain relief and hasten the teething process. It is therefore important to keep these objects and surfaces babies gnaw on like their crib railings and furniture clean and sterilized. You can also ensure your hands and clean and massage the sore gums of your baby.
Due to the pain experienced from the inflammation of the gums by the baby, they gnaw and chew on hard objects. You can provide teething toys for your baby to chew on to relieve them of pain. Do ensure that teething rings and toys given to your baby are not liquid or ball fields. Some babies could chew so hard that the liquids can leak which could be harmful. Ball-filled teething rings also pose a choking risk. The teething rings should be made from materials that would not harm the baby.
Application of cold objects on the gum can relieve the pain, swelling, and pressure of teething. Chill a clean, wet washcloth in the fridge or freezer and give your baby to chew on it. Teething rings can also be cooled in the fridge for your little one to chew on. Do not freeze washcloths and teething rings for your baby as this can hurt your baby’s mouth.
This is the last resort measure and should only be administered on the instructions of a pediatrician. After you’ve tried everything possible and it still seems that your child is still in a lot of discomfort, you can consult with your pediatrician to know what type of pain relief drugs to give to your baby and the dosage. Painkillers that could be given are acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Ensure you speak with your baby’s pediatrician before giving drugs to your baby.
- Giving a baby aspirin or any medication not recommended by your pediatrician or a professional child expert
- Using alcohol on your baby’s gums
- Giving a teething necklace to your baby can cause choking. Teething biscuits are also not recommended for your baby
How to Care for your baby’s teeth
Caring for your baby’s teeth should be embarked on as soon as the first ones sprout. Your baby’s primary teeth will be replaced by permanent teeth later on. You must care well for them as it will set a foundation for the oral health of their adult teeth. The following steps can be taken to care for your baby’s teeth.
Brush your Baby’s teeth
Brushing your baby’s teeth regularly is important. Brush your baby’s teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled brush. Ensure you also use fluoride toothpaste, because your baby can’t spit out yet, use a tiny smear.
As your child grows older, you can progress to using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and teach your child to rinse and spit out the toothpaste rather than swallowing it.
Even when your child is old enough to brush by himself, ensure you supervise them while brushing. Children learn from examples, so it encourages them to brush their teeth when they see you brush yours.
Ensure a good diet
Diet is very important for oral growth. Do not let your baby fall asleep with a bottle of milk and formula in his mouth. This can lead to tooth decay.
Avoid giving your baby sugary drinks, sodas, chocolates, and sweets. If your child consumes stuff like these, ensure you brush their teeth immediately after.
Calcium is important for the development of strong teeth. Do give your child calcium-rich foods such as milk and yogurt. Fruits and vegetables are also recommended for children at this age.
A visit to the dentist is important to the healthy growth and development of your child’s teeth. The American Dental Association recommends the first dental examination for a baby at the age of one.
During this visit, the dentist will check that everything’s fine with the oral cavity of the baby and educate the parents further on how to care for the baby’s teeth.
Does teething cause diarrhea?
Technically, I stick with the theory that teething does not cause diarrhea. However, diarrhea is usually associated with teething in babies because they chew on objects and their hands that might have been contaminated. This can cause diarrhea and builds the popular belief that teething causes diarrhea. It is important to sterilize babies teething toys and rings.
If your baby’s diarrhea does not subside after 24 hours kindly see your pediatrician.
My child was born with a tooth/teeth, should I be worried?
Although cases like this are very rare, your worry is understood. Some babies are born with a tooth, usually a canine incisor, it could be a real tooth, this happens in one of every six to eight thousand babies in the United States. You might want to have your pediatrician examine it to see if it poses any risk to your baby. If they are loose, they would need to be extracted to prevent choking or so it doesn’t get in the way of feeding. But if it does not pose any risk, there’s no cause for alarm.
Can I still breastfeed while my baby is teething?
Teething should not stop breastfeeding. Some babies prefer to nurse more during teething because of the comfort it provides because they can rub their gum against their mother’s breasts which relieves them of pain.
Some babies might avoid nursing during teething because of the pain and pressure on their gums.
However, if your baby is not getting enough nutrition due to avoidance of nursing, you should consult your pediatrician.
My baby is very fussy with teething, what can I do?
It is understandable that as a parent, frustration can set in while your baby is teething, especially if every method of pacifying him is not working.
You can massage your baby’s jaws, forehead, cheeks to relieve him of pain.
Dear Parents, we understand that the teething period is a very challenging time for you as a parent, it’s a phase that will soon pass and you will have your usual smiling happy baby back. We recommend that you stay informed on every stage of your baby’s development, as it will prepare you for what’s coming and will give you peace of mind.