Teething can give both your baby and you many sleepless nights. Here are some symptoms you must look out for and remedies you should know about.
By Jayanthi Madhukar
Is your little one acting fussy and putting all objects that he can lay his hands on, into his mouth? Then, your baby is on his way to reaching an important milestone — getting his first tooth.
Typically, your baby gets his first tooth between the ages of five and 12 months. In some babies, it appears sooner (three months) and in some, much later (around 14 months). But, as the first tooth i.e. the bottom incisor, makes it appearance, the discomfort often causes your baby to be cranky and fretful. As the incisor cuts through the tender gums, your baby has several issues to deal with. He will have pain in the gums, extra drooling and the urge to gnaw everything in sight.
Remember, the worst phase of teething is usually when your baby gets the first few teeth. Central incisors or the bottom front teeth are usually the first to appear. These are followed by the four upper teeth or central and lateral incisors.
The entire teething process need not be an ordeal for both your baby and you. We asked Dr Kirpa Johar, Director of Haridaan Dental Clinic and Academy, to help list out the symptoms and remedies for teething woes.
When your little one is about six months old, she may begin to refuse solid foods. Instead, she is likely to chew on whatever she gets her hands on. This makes her prone to infections. “As a parent, your guard should be up when the baby is around six months old and the first tooth makes it appearance. The process of teething continues until the child is around two years,” Dr Johar notes.
Although nursing mothers will first feel the brunt of teething, here are some of the other signs of teething:
Dr Johar says, “Teething has been found to occur over approximately eight days. The pain associated with teething is dull, with growing intensity in the four days leading up to the eruption of the tooth. Then it rapidly decreases, unless the eruption is associated with inflammation, which may take several days to heal. The majority of children have all or many of these symptoms in combination during the teething phase. There may be a very small percentage of children who may not exhibit any of these teething symptoms at all.”
There are various pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods of managing teething:
“Above all these, what a child primarily needs is the care and loving arms of a parent (or caregiver), who will reassure the child that all will be well. The child needs immense care and nurturing during these testing times," says Dr Johar.
Once the teeth are out, parents need to pay attention to dental hygiene. You can try out infant toothbrushes available in the market or use a soft cloth to gently wipe clean your baby's first few teeth. Around one year of age, gently brush your infant’s teeth with a soft toothbrush using a tiny bit of non-fluoride toothpaste. It is also time to have an appointment with a paediatric dentist.
Here are some frequently asked questions about teething in babies.
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