Baby's First MonthsChild Health & DevelopmentGrowth & DevelopmentHealth & Safety

Your Baby’s Teeth


Your Baby’s Teeth

Your Baby’s Teeth

Children don’t come with a manual. Your first child is always a learning experience. If you are a first time mother, here is a list of things that will help you take care of your child’s teeth.

The first tooth in babies will erupt between 4-8 months of age and kids usually get all their baby teeth by age two and half to three. The teething process is different for every baby. Some children have a difficult time during teething, while others sprout teeth effortlessly.

Some things to note about teething:

  • Teething may cause increased drooling.
  • Babies may refuse to eat due to pain in their gums. They often get restless and fussy.
  • Pain due to teething may cause them to sleep less or wake up often.
  • Referred pain from back teeth erupting may cause them to rub their cheeks.
  • They will put their hands in their mouth and bite on everything they can get hold of.
  • Excessive drooling around their mouth can causes rashes due to skin irritation.
  • Some babies may get a low grade fever or mild diarrhea but it is very important that you get him or her checked by a doctor to make sure that they are not getting the flu, ear infection or diarrhea due to infection. (Children usually do not get high fever with teething).

Things to do at home to reduce pain:

  • Massage the gums with a finger or wet gauge.
  • Use teething rings as they are very helpful.
  • Chilled teethers are very helpful. Do not freeze the teether. Cold carrots are good teethers if the baby can chew on solid food.
  • To prevent skin rash from excessive drooling use a cloth to dry baby’s chin.
  • If baby is extremely uncomfortable, see a dentist. He/she may prescribe a medicine to ease the pain.

Important tips to remember:
Start cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as the teeth erupt. Use a wet gauge to clean them when they are partially erupted; once the front tooth erupts completely, use a soft tooth brush. Make sure you are cleaning the gums too. Use training toothpaste, which is safe to swallow until your child learns to spit out the toothpaste. Brush two times a day and floss once.

Stop the bottle after you baby’s first birthday. Babies should not be fed in the middle of the night after they are 14-15 months old unless suggested by a doctor. Feed them a good dinner before you put them to bed. Avoid juice; water and fresh fruits are the best alternatives.

Time does go by fast and one day you child will come and tell you that his or her tooth is loose. The first baby tooth usually falls out at an age of six or seven, although some kids may start losing their baby teeth a year earlier or later. Loose teeth can cause pain and kids will sometimes avoid brushing around them so it is important that parents help them keep those areas clean. Baby teeth usually fall out on their own, however, in some kids they can be stubborn and may stick around even after permanent teeth have erupted. In that case they may need to be taken out by a dentist.

Another important thing to watch out for is the first permanent molar also called the six year molar. This is a very important tooth and it erupts behind baby teeth; kids are not used to having a tooth so far back and can easily skip brushing it. Also it is a big tooth and can cause considerable amount of pain and sometimes infection due to food collecting around it. Salt water gargle, brushing and massaging that area will help ease the pain. As soon as the molar erupts it needs to be sealed. A sealant is like a nail polish coat that covers the top surface of the molar. It prevents food from collecting in grooves and helps reduce the incidence of cavities.

Keeping all these things in mind will help your children develop healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.

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Dr. Humairah

Dr. Humairah Shah is a dentist by profession and works in Torrance, California (USA). She has been working exclusively with children for the past 11 years.

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