Caring for Baby's First TeethKatlyn Joy |15, July 2013
Is baby fussy and drooling? These may be the first signs of teething especially if your little one is between the ages of four and seven months. Other signs include sleeplessness, irritability, and a slight temp increase. Teething doesn't cause a real fever, especially a high one. While swallowing a lot of extra drool may make the stools a bit watery than normal, teething does not cause diarrhea. If your baby has a fever and diarrhea it's not the teeth but likely a sickness, possibly a virus.
Tips for Easing Teething Pain
Some babies breeze through teething, with teeth popping up almost before you know what happens while others slowly edge along painful moment by painful moment. If your child is having a tough time getting those teeth to erupt, try these tips.
-Place a wet clean washcloth in the freezer for a few moments to give baby to suck on.
- Use only rubber or plastic teething rings that are not liquid-filled. Those kinds are liable to rupture. You can chill those in the frig as well for added comforting coolness.
- Keep baby's face dry and clean as much as humanly possible to prevent rashes. You may apply a bit of cream to protect it if baby seems prone to such outbreaks.
- Never tie a soother around baby's neck. It's a strangulation hazard. Similarly, don't give baby anything too small or anything that may break into small pieces as they are choking hazards. If it's small enough to pass through a toilet paper tube, it's a hazard.
- Rub baby's gums with a clean finger.
- Do not rub alcohol on baby's gums or apply aspirin to swollen gums. Neither should you give baby a nip of anything.
- Don't give baby pain reliever or teething gels without asking baby's physician first.
Teething babies are at risk for tooth decay if they are allowed to fall asleep sucking milk or anything besides water from a sippy cup or bottle. Breastfed babies can still nurse, but if they begin biting, insert a finger into the side of baby's mouth to break the suction while simultaneously giving a firm, "No!" Baby will learn not to bite the breast that feeds them.
Do not give babies over one year of age a bottle. After one, baby doesn't need sugary drinks. You should even limit juices to meal times only. Baby really only needs milk and water.
What Teeth Appear First
Baby will typically have their bottom front teeth emerge through the gums first, followed by the upper set. Next are the bottom teeth adjacent to the ones already through the gums. By age 3, you can expect your toddler to have twenty teeth in all. That's the full primary set.
At age six or seven, those baby teeth will begin to be shed, in the same order they appeared generally. The permanent teeth are arriving about the same time.
Cleaning Baby's First Teeth
Caring for those new pearly whites is fairly straightforward. Until baby is old enough to master spitting (on purpose) you need to wipe those teeth with a clean cloth and plain water. Once baby has a couple teeth next door to each other, you need to use floss or teethpicks to clean the plaque between teeth that a brush cannot reach.
When your child is ready to start brushing, you need to give loads of hands on assistance. If your child is not the best at not swallowing the paste, then opt for a child's type of toothpaste that isn't toxic to ingest. Use only a pea-sized amount of paste and expect to supervise until your child is about 6 or 7 years of age.
Fluoride is important, too. Find out if you local water has fluoride in it. If it doesn't or if you use bottled water, then discuss fluoride drops with your child's pediatrician. Fluoride protects the enamel.
Take baby to the dentist by your child's first birthday as part of his wellness care. By then baby will likely have several teeth. Your child's teeth will be checked out and tips for caring for them will be shared with you.
If your child seems to be having any problems with their teeth, if you suspect cavities or you have any other concerns, you should make an appointment with a dentist even sooner than age 1. Taking care of baby's teeth is an important part of her health care so be proactive.
Sources: American Dental Association (ada.org), Kids Health, Family DoctorKatlyn Joy is a mother to 7 children, and a freelance writer. She earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and was previously an adviser to new mothers on breastfeeding through a maternity home program. She currently resides in Colorado with her family.
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