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When Will Baby Start Teething?
When a baby feeds well, sleeps well and happily play without any problems during the day, teething is unlikely to be the cause for a disturbed night sleep. If babies are in the habit of waking at night then teething discomfort can make it harder for them to settle back to sleep but is not usually the cause of night waking.
Your baby goes through a developmental change around three to four months old. He begins to drool, puts his fingers in his mouth or even tries to shove his whole fist in. While drooling moistens the mouth ready for teething it is not necessarily a sign that teeth are imminent. Babies that dribble copious amounts of saliva often cut teeth with ease and with less associated pain.
It is not uncommon for baby teeth to start showing at four months old but more often they poke through around seven to nine months old. Occasionally teeth don’t appear until after twelve months old and although rare, some babies are born with a tooth. In some babies, the first sign of a tooth is when they bite down on a finger when playing or a nipple while feeding. Others suffer ear infections and are generally miserable for a few days before a tooth erupts.
Baby teeth usually erupt in pairs – one appearing a few days after the other. There is a sequence that baby teeth are expected to appear, but it is not uncommon for teeth to show up in a different order. The first teeth predicted to appear are the two lower central incisors (cutting teeth) followed by the two upper central incisors. Next are the four incisors either side. If babies have followed this sequence they will be proudly showing off eight pearly white pegs by twelve months old. The four back molars (chewing teeth) are next to appear and may cause a little more pain and discomfort coming through than earlier teeth. The four canines (pointy teeth) are next followed by the other four back molars, often referred to as two year old molars. That makes a mouthful of twenty teeth by the time they are two years old.
Baby teeth are eventually pushed out by adult teeth growing behind so don’t worry if your baby’s baby teeth look a little messy and misaligned. It is possible for second teeth to come through decayed if baby teeth are not looked after. Start cleaning their teeth at night before bed to avoid sugars (found in milk and juice) pooling around their teeth.
The following signs and symptoms suggest teeth are on the way. Baby is a little more grizzly and clingy with a clear nasal discharge and darker pink puffy gums. Some babies experience ear infections while others have a slight fever as teeth poke through. Drooling, as mentioned earlier, is associated with a developmental phase that is happening while baby is teething. Dry red cheeks may be present but not necessarily a symptom of teething. Smelly, poo filled nappies are more common when teething as is an angry red nappy rash. Babies are often off solid food but there is no need to worry as the enjoyment of eating will return. Many parents are stressed with this lack of eating but relax – the worst thing you can do is force baby to eat. Babies may experience all, some or none of these signs and symptoms of teething.
When babies are teething you can help them feel more comfortable by giving them cold drinks and foods – use a feeding net if they are too young to handle solid food. Reduce the risk of biting you and their play mates by giving them something to chomp on like a large cold chicken bone, lamb bone, a cold solid teething ring, wooden toy or a slightly dampened washer that has been cooled in the freezer. There are natural remedies such as amber necklaces, topical gels, oils, powders and mixtures that work systemically to reduce fever, pain and induce calm. Make sure you get professional instruction for how and where to use these products. If your baby is having a particularly bad day and won’t be comforted by these suggested measures try administering an anti inflammatory or analgesic medication recommended from your local pharmacist.
Provide your baby with a healthy diet and a balanced and settled day. This will help reduce the poor behaviour that teething often gets the blame for.
All babies are different in what they need so keep positive while you try to find a remedy that works best.
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