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The Troubles with Teething (and How to Help it)

Isn’t the teething stage the worse? It’s hard to explain to young ones what is happening and why they are so uncomfortable and sometimes in pain. Unfortunately, all parents go through this stage…but how long does it last and when can we expect it? The short answer is every child is different and there is no set time when you should see a tooth popping up, but here is a handy guide of what to expect when the journey does start, and how you can help.

A baby’s smile can be the most beautiful thing, but soon that gummy smile will turn into a toothy one (and still be beautiful!) No parent looks forward to the day teeth start showing. Not because it’s a sign of growing up, but because of the cries of discomfort with it. A little understanding can go a long way though in helping your child get through this stage.

When should we expect to see that first tooth?

As mentioned before, every child is different. Therefore, the window in which to expect to see that first tooth is quite wide, from six to nine months. Some babies can start to show signs of a tooth eruption before that though, and others can be later! There is no need to panic if eight to nine months comes around and there is no tooth yet, but if you are worried about anything, then see a dentist for some advice.

When that first tooth does decide to make an appearance, don’t expect the others to follow immediately! It takes a few years for 19 others to show up. And then they all fall out again to make way for adult teeth.

When you do see indication of a tooth appearing, expect it to be one of the lower incisors, followed by the second. These two teeth don’t make for very good chewing yet, but at around 8-12 months the upper incisors will make an appearance. Then the two on either side of the top incisors will start to show from about 9-3 months. Once the bottom laterals come in from 10-16 months of age, then solid foods are not so much of a problem, although you will still want to keep food soft until the molars come in to help grind food.

These molars will show from 13-19 months, starting with the upper ones. They don’t do much good until the lower ones come through from 14-20 months. Then come the canines to fill in the gaps. Expect the top ones first starting from 16-22 months followed up the lowers at 17-23 months. Finally, the last set of molars will make an appearance to complete the set of baby teeth. This is usually at around age three.

How can I help my baby with teething pain management?

Parents want to do all they can to help soothe that horrible teething pain. There are a number of ways you can help make this process as comfortable as process as a relief for baby and you!

Having something cold on an area can numb it, and the same principle goes for gums, so give you baby something cold to chew on. Not only does it make the area numb, but it will help reduce any swelling. Textured things help too, like rubber teething rings that you can put in the freezer. Make sure they have handles that don’t stay cold so baby can hold it comfortably! These should always be used under supervision because as great as they are, they can leak. You could opt for a wet washcloth and put it in the freezer. The cloth provides a wonderful soothing textured feel that will also help numb the gums. If your child isn’t taking to the cold items, then a teether at room temperature will be fine. That texture and pressure will still be some relief.

If teethers aren’t helping, then you can ask your doctor or dentist to recommend a topical gel to be put on the gums to numb them or even appropriate painkillers. Remember though, ibuprofen should only be given to children over the age of six months. Again, be sure to ask your dentist or doctor first.

How can I promote healthy gums and teeth for my child?

You should start getting your child into the habit of brushing teeth/gums before you even see teeth. Start with a wet toothbrush. You can give it to them to “chew” on while they see you brush yours. Always watch your child with the toothbrush to prevent choking. When teeth start to arrive, use only a smear of baby toothpaste. Not only will this keep their teeth and gums healthy and get them into the good practice of tooth brushing, but the texture of the toothbrush will also help with any irritation. If you are not sure of which toothpaste or toothbrush to go for, ask your dentist! They may even have a sample to give you.

 

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