Published March 03, 2008 by
Teething is a developmental milestone for your child but can be a stressful and painful time for your baby and you. Teething is the appearance of the first teeth through the gums; most babies will start teething around six to eight months with their last molars arriving at 20 or 30 months, however teething can begin as early as three months and continue to the child’s second or third birthday. Normally the bottom two incisors or the front teeth will come in, followed by the top four incisors.
Your baby may experience sleep disturbance, crankiness and excessive drooling and your child’s gums may appear tender and swollen. Some babies make it through teething without any pain but others aren’t so lucky and may seem cranky for weeks. Here are some tips to help you through the teething period.
It is not recommended to put your baby to bed with a bottle because milk and formula can pool in the babies mouth causing tooth decay. It may be a good idea to get a soft infant sized toothbrush and brush them but do not use toothpaste, only warm water. You can use toothpaste once your child is old enough to spit it out, usually around three years.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends waiting to use fluoridated toothpaste until your child is 2 to 3 years old, and then using only a pea-sized amount. Keep toothpaste away from small children because an overdose of fluoride can be harmful.
Like walking and talking there is no exact age that every baby begins teething. If your baby is a little late with teething there is no need to worry. However if your baby has not shown signs of teething by one year old consult your doctor to find out what is causing the delay and rule out possibilities. In rare cases, delayed eruption may be the result of rickets, a vitamin D deficiency that has been linked to exclusive breastfeeding.
Although teething can be a stressful and uncomfortable time for your baby, it is possible for you to ease your child’s discomfort or completely eliminate it and make this transitional period easier on you and your child.