Most infants’ teeth first emerge around six to ten months of age; however, the first baby tooth can come as early has three months of age. Often the term “erupt” is used to describe this process which is appropriate considering the pain infants suffered. These tooth eruptions causes lots of crying and discomfort. Overall, 20 “baby” teeth will break the surface by the time your child is three-years-old.
Common Symptoms of Teething
According the American Dental Association, the following are normal and not normal symptoms of teething:
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Drooling more than usual
What’s not normal?
Visit your pediatrician promptly if your baby is exhibiting abnormal symptoms.
Typical teething symptoms cause great discomfort for babies and parents. Just as babies have settled into sleep routines, teething pain disrupts established patterns.
According to Parenting.com, babies get their teeth in the following order:
- 6 months: lower central incisors
- 8 months: upper central incisors
- 10 months: lower and upper lateral incisors
- 14 months: first molars
- 18 months: canines
- 24 months: second molars2)https://www.parenting.com/article/guide-teething-symptoms
Early signs your baby is about to begin teething are excessive drooling, desire to gnaw on toys and fingers, and swollen gums.
How to Relieve the Symptoms of Teething Naturally
For parents, teething can be especially stressful. Prior discomforts of infants, such as hunger or a diaper changes, were easily remedied. Not so with teething. Providing baby with something to gnaw on to help break the tooth through the gums offers some satisfaction.
Teething Tablets and Numbing Gels
Homeopathic teething tablets are no longer recommended because of inconsistent amounts of Belladonna. Commercial numbing gels contain benzocaine. The US Federal Food and Drug Administration does not recommend children under two use products containing benzocaine because it can cause the sometimes the fatal illness methemoglobinemia. This illness causes. reduction of oxygen in the bloodstream.3)https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/teething
Parents need to be careful about choosing safe teething toys. Some toys contain lead and toxic plastic chemicals. Avoid products with gel liquids that you can or cannot freeze. These teethers can break easily.
Choose all natural teething toys. Here are some options:
- Wooden teething toys
- Organic cotton and wool stuffed teething toys
- Organic Teething biscuits
- Natural Rubber Teether Toy
Some parents may recommend you use frozen food or vegetables as teethers. Be very careful if you choose this option. You don’t want your baby to accidentally gnaw off a chokeable piece. Just like all teethers, close observation is required. Doctors don’t recommend this option.
Your grandmother may tell you to rub brandy on the swollen gums. Again, doctors warn this is dangerous and potentially poisonous to your baby.
Other parent recommendations are to chill a wash cloth. Alternately you can secure an ice-cube in a wash cloth by wrapping a hair tie or rubber band around it. Closely observe your baby though to make sure the wash cloth does not come loose.
Additionally, you can cover your finger with a cloth and let your baby chew on it. Massaging your baby’s gums with your cloth-covered finger can bring some relief.
We were sent a great natural rubber teether toy by Natursutten. It can be chilled in the refrigerator. It is Danish designed and made in Italy.
NATURSUTTEN is made ecologically sustainable from pure natural rubber from the tree Hevea brasiliensis…
The protein that on rare occasions can provoke a latex allergy is eliminated during production.
All NATURSUTTEN pacifiers are certified to conform to the European Union (EU) directive concerned with safety, health and environment. (Pacifier Safety requirements by European standard EN 1400).
With a NATURSUTTEN pacifier, you avoid:
- Allergy causing substances
- Artificial color
- Cancer causing substances
- Hormone disturbing substances
- Chemical softeners
- Parabens, PVC and phthalates4)http://www.natursutten.com/100-natural/
Breastfeeding After Teeth Erupt
That same urge to gnaw and chew on toys to help the teeth emerge causes babies to painfully bite nipples while breastfeeding. This can be enough to cause mothers to quite breastfeeding, but there are solutions.
When your baby bites on your breast, do not follow your gut reaction to pull away. This will only cause your baby to bite down harder. The simplest solution is to push the breast more into your baby’s mouth. This will cause him/her to let go. Coupled with the words, “We don’t bite” or “No biting” just like Pavlov’s dog, your baby will quickly learn from classic conditioning that biting cuts off the supply of milk.
La Lech League International offers the following advice:
Try the PACED approach:
- Positioning – Review how your baby latches. As he has grown have you been less attentive to how he latches? Position so that the nipple is aimed to the roof of his mouth and wait for a wide open mouth before quickly hugging him close. Keep his bottom close to help angle his head back. When your baby is latched on correctly and nursing actively, getting milk from your breast and swallowing, it’s physically impossible to bite.
- Act fast – Try and watch for a hint that your baby is about to bite – usually after their initial hunger has been satisfied – when you feel your baby pausing and her jaw tensing, quickly break her suction, slide your index finger into her mouth and between her gums. Remove her from the breast.Pulling your baby straight off is a very antural and almost automatic response, but it may cause damage to your nipple.
- Comfort – Your baby doesn’t know it hurts you. He may be surprised and unhappy that you have stopped the feeding. Give a cuddle with a firm “no bite” and then offer a cold teether – a wet washcloth wrapped around an ice cube or a home-made ice water pop – or a commercial teether. Offer the breast again if baby is still rooting.
- Expression/compression – Keeping milk flowing can help. Baby can’t bite if she is actively sucking. If your baby seems to be slowing down (jaw tensing may or may not be present), do breast compressions to increase flow which will remind her to suck and swallow. You can also express a bit to start flow at the opposite breast and quickly move baby there to continue feeding.
- Distract – Talk to your baby. Say his name. Play a game to get him to laugh for a quick please from the breast.5)https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/biting/
How to Care for Infant Teeth
It is important to care for baby teeth. They hold space for the permanent teeth underneath. They need to be cleaned and cared for just like permanent teeth, as decay can affect the adult teeth underneath.
Once that first tooth emerges, brush twice a day with a gentle baby toothbrush (this too may become a popular teething toy). You don’t really need to use toothpaste (There is debate about this). If you do, be careful that if it contains fluoride your baby does not swallow any amount of it. Many pediatric dentists recommend waiting until your child is three-years-old to introduce a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.6)http://www.pediatricdentistry-sanramon.com/PatientInfo/FAQs.aspx
NEVER put your baby to bed with a bottle. This will cause decay. Some dentists will blame night-time nursing on decay, but this has not been supported by other research that shows breastfeeding prevents cavities.7)http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/lisa_reagan.html If you are concerned, brush baby’s teeth after breastfeeding.
Nutrition is important to our dental health. From your child’s first food until their adult teeth have replaced the primary ones, and healthy diet paired with brushing is the most important way you can prevent tooth decay.
Image: tookapic / Pixabay
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