Just as a new parent feels they have got to grips with some of the difficulties understanding the varying cries of their newborn, a new challenge presents itself.
Though the first appearances of little white teeth in a baby’s gums can be exciting, the noise, symptoms and bad temper it may cause can override any parental joy at their little one’s milestone.
Some babies are born with teeth already through, though for most, milk teeth tend to start pushing through ready for the six-month weaning stage.
The average baby will have approximately ten teeth by their first birthday, but parent panic shouldn’t set in if this is not happening. All children are different and teeth will come through in their own time.
By the age of two and a half, most children will have a full set of twenty teeth.
Symptoms of teething
Red, hot cheeks
Tender red gums
Lots of dribbling – protect little necks as this can make skin sore
Urge to chew things
Crying and bad temper from pain
Disturbed sleep routine
Though a common belief is that teething is responsible for a host of illnesses including colds and diarrhoea, this is not the case. Treat other illnesses on an individual basis.
How to treat teething
As a great enamel coated tooth pushes through the gum, the surrounding tissue area is highly likely to become sore. Think wisdom teeth!
Patience and empathy is the first way to approach this stage of development. Reassure the baby with lots of cuddles and hugs.
Try cooling the hot gums with cold, chilled foods such as cucumber, yoghurt and other fruits.
A sterilised teether kept in the fridge can really help some babies with both cooling and chewing.
For weaning babies, hard cold foods under careful supervision can also help. Try carrots and apples.
Target the pain with rub on natural teething crystals. These will stay on your baby’s gums rather than slide off like gel. If the pain is obviously very bad, try infant paracetamol or ibuprofen. Always read the label.
As your baby’s teeth continue to come through, make sure you establish good hygiene patterns and sign them up for their free NHS dental treatment.