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All About Teething

Teething can be a stressful time for parents and babies alike. As brand new baby teeth break through your child’s gums for the first time, it may cause some discomfort. Being prepared and knowing how to deal with the symptoms of teething can help you get through the process smoothly.

To assist you, we’ve put together a quick guide to teething, including the signs and symptoms of teething, how to minimise your child’s discomfort, and the best way to care for your baby’s teeth and gums so they grow healthy and strong.

What is teething?

Teething is when a baby’s new teeth break through the gums.

Teething generally starts between the ages of four and ten months. All twenty baby teeth, ten in each jaw, are usually in place by the age of two or three years. However, teething doesn’t occur at the same time for all babies.

How can I tell if my baby is teething?

As teething can be uncomfortable for some babies, they may become upset and bad-tempered during the teething period.

Here are some of the common signs and symptoms that your baby may be experiencing teething:

  • Crying more often than usual
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Not feeding as well as usual
  • Sucking a lot on toys, fingers or fists
  • Soiling nappies more frequently
  • Pulling on the ear
  • Drooling
  • A slight rise in temperature - however, teething doesn’t usually cause a fever (a temperature of 38°C or more)

You may also notice a blue-grey bubble on the gum where the tooth is about to appear. This is not a cause for concern - it’s called an eruption cyst and will usually disappear on its own without treatment.

How long does teething last?

The teething process for each tooth usually takes around eight days in total. This includes four days prior to the tooth breaking through the gum and another three days after.

What can I do to ease my baby’s teething symptoms?

Here are some things you can try to ease the discomfort of teething for your child:

  • Gentle massage: Gently rub your child’s gums with clean fingers to ease teething pain.
  • Provide objects to chew: Letting your baby chew on objects such as bread crusts, rusks or a teething ring can help to alleviate discomfort. You can also chill (but not freeze) teething rings or rusks for cooling relief.
  • Remove drool: Drooling during teething can irritate the skin around the mouth and chin. Gently cleaning the skin with a soft cloth throughout the day can help avoid irritation.
  • Pain-relieving medication: It’s important to speak to your GP or child health nurse about whether the use of pain-relieving medication such as paracetamol is a suitable option for your child.

Teething necklaces should be avoided as they pose a choking and strangulation hazard for children.

If you’re concerned about persistent teething pain or sleepless nights resulting from teething, talk to your pharmacist, GP or child health nurse.

How do I care for my baby’s teeth and gums?

Taking care of your baby’s gums and new teeth is important to ensure good oral health from an early age.

  • Gently wipe the gums a couple of times each day using a damp cloth or gauze
  • Brush baby teeth twice a day by wrapping a damp cloth or gauze around your finger and gently wiping the teeth using soft, circular motions
  • As your baby grows, you can start using a soft toothbrush and water to brush the teeth; toothpaste is not recommended for children under 18 months. Toddlers can use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Avoid sugary drinks to prevent tooth decay

If you need advice on caring for your baby’s teeth or have concerns about teething, chat to your North Shore Dentistry practitioner.

To see is you’re a candidate for Invisalign or Braces contact North Shore Dentistry. today!

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