Teething can be a long process, it may take your baby as long as three years to get a full mouth of teeth. But your baby's teething journey begins long before you realize it. Your baby will begin to develop "tooth buds", which will begin to break the gum surface anywhere between 3 to 12 months. By the time she is 3 years old, she will have a complete set of nice white teeth.
When and How They Develop
The first tooth that usually starts to pop out is the lower central incisor, which may be as early as 3 months old. The last teeth to show them selves are usually the second molars, around 2 years old.
Most of the time teething can be a really difficult time for both babies and parents alike. The early symptoms of teething include:
- Swollen red gums
- A fair amount of pain
Most experts believe that teething doesn't cause illness. Although some mothers say that their babies suffer from fevers or diarrhea when they are teething, it is more likely that their child caught a bug at the same time.
Caring for Your Baby's Teeth
Now that your baby has a set of teeth, it is up to you to ensure that they keep clean. For the first year you won't really need to brush the teeth, but it is important to keep them clean, so it may be a good idea to give them a wipe with a gauze once a day, perhaps at bedtime.
Around 18 months is a good time to start using a tooth brush on your baby's teeth. You will have to do this for him for the first few times, not only so that he can learn how to brush his teeth correctly, but also because he probably won't have the concentration and dexterity to brush them himself.
If your baby doesn't like the taste of the toothpaste, you can either try another brand or just skip the toothpaste all together. Unless your baby is having a lot of sugar in her diet, you won't really need toothpaste yet.
When your baby turns 3, you should make an appointment with a pediatric dentist.
How Can I Help Relieve the Pain?To help make the teething process a bit less painful, follow these tips:
- Gently message the gums with one finger
- Give her something cold to chew on, such as a plumb, gel filled teething ring or a cold wash cloth. If you are using a teething ring, be sure to take it out of the freezer before it gets rock hard!
- Dab the gums with an over the counter anesthetic product, such as Orajel.
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