Teething is a process that starts when your child’s first baby teeth appear in their mouth. It can be a difficult process for both baby and parent, which is why we offer this helpful guide to help educate and prepare you.
When Does Teething Occur?
The age your toddler starts teething can vary, with some starting as early as 3 months old or as late as 12 months. For most children though it happens between 6-8 months old.
As a pediatric dentist will tell you, the process usually begins with the two bottom front teeth called lower incisors growing in, followed by the two front teeth, the upper incisors. Next is the upper and lower molars, the canines, and then the second molars (upper and lower).
The process can be lengthy as your youngster is usually about two and a half years by the time all 20 baby teeth grow into their mouth.
How to Prepare for Teething
To prepare, start looking for signs of teething coming before it happens, starting by the time your baby is 6 months old. Common signs teething is near include irritable temperament, active biting on hard items, and consistent drooling. You may also notice their gums swell or are sore, and they wake up often when you put them down for a nap or the night.
Many parents experience extreme stress when their youngsters start teething. They are emerging from the newborn phase and feel like they have a handle on the children’s’ sleep habits. Then come constant nights when the child keeps waking up, which parents may not at first realize is because of teething.
Teething Tips that Work
When teething happens, babies can react differently. Some of them have almost no issues while others have quite a bit of discomfort. To comfort a child and help parents get more rest at night too, Houston Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Linh Luu recommends providing your baby with a rubber teething ring. The rubber version is less likely to break than one that is liquid filled or made of plastic.
Another teething tip is to run a washcloth under cool water and then gently rub it on their gums. You can even put the cloth into the freezer for an extra cold sensation that dulls the pain in their mouth.
Also, if your baby is at the point of eating solid foods, great food choices are yogurt and applesauce. For bottle feeding, avoid juice, formula or anything other than water as it can decay your child’s new teeth coming in. Stay away from topical medications for rubbing on gums; that is not necessary and, as your child’s mouth is full of moisture, it washes from their mouth within minutes.
The number one tip is to take your child to a pediatric dentist before their first birthday, or sooner if a first tooth has already appeared. That way you make sure you have the information you need to best respond to teething and ease the discomfort your youngster feels. Practicing good dental care from a young age sets your child up for great hygiene habits for their future!