During your newborn’s first few months their diet will consist solely of milk. As your baby gets a little bigger their first teeth will emerge preparing them for bigger and better things to come. This is not a particularly favorable milestone as it typically brings undesirable symptoms including pain and swelling. In this article we’re going to discuss when babies begin teething so you can be prepared and well equipped for soothing their discomfort.
Baby’s First Teeth
Every child is unique and as with any other milestone, some babies will experience teething sooner than others. The typical age that babies begin teething is around 6 six months, when they are ready to begin solids. However, there is a wide range for what is normal. Your baby may cut their first tooth as early as 4 months or as late as 10 months and it generally lasts until 24 months.
The central incisors, specifically the bottom teeth, are usually the first teeth to show up followed by the lateral incisors. While baby teeth generally follow a pattern, it is not uncommon for the teeth to come in with no particular order.
Characteristics of Teething
Your baby may experience teething symptoms days before their first tooth actually appears. These are some common signs that their first tooth is soon to arrive:
- Excessive drooling
- Mouthing objects
- Disruptive sleep patterns associated with discomfort of the gums
- Mild rash around the mouth, usually the chin, from drooling or red cheeks
You can help alleviate your baby’s discomfort by having some teething toys. Those that are filled with liquid to go in the refrigerator are very beneficial to soothing swollen gums. Some babies experience more discomfort than others. If your baby seems especially irritable that affects their appetite or sleep you may give them medication such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen (not under 6 months) under your pediatrician’s dosage instructions.
Some parents are convinced that diarrhea and fever are often associated with teething; however this is a myth. If your baby has a fever above 101, diarrhea, or is fussy for a prolonged period of time they may have an illness and their physician should be contacted.
Caring For Baby’s Teeth
From the moment they come home from the hospital it isn’t too early to begin practicing good oral hygiene. Caring for your baby’s gums and first teeth will help establish a healthy setting for your child’s permanent teeth. Before your baby’s teeth come in, you can use a clean wet washcloth to rub the gums. After their first teeth emerge you can begin using a training toothbrush. Babies do not need fluoride and excessive amounts can lead to a condition that permanently stains the teeth known as fluorosis. There are training toothpastes available specifically for infants and toddlers that does not contain fluoride for their little pearly whites.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your baby have their first dental exam by the age of 1. Some parents prefer to wait until their baby has their first tooth before bringing them.