You’ve went through the hard part, you’ve given birth and you’ve dealt with long, sleepless nights. Just when your baby hits the 6-month mark, you start noticing that he or she is cranky. The child may cry abnormally often (for your child), and nothing you do seems to calm him or her down for long.
Then you start wondering when do babies start teething? And then it dawns on you: your baby is teething.
But it’s not always this simple. Every baby is different, and there are signs and symptoms that will be exhibited that will make the diagnosis a little easier.
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When Do Babies Start Teething?
Babies start teething between month 3 and month 12. Most babies will begin the teething process during month six, but this obviously fluctuates. And you may be surprised to know that all 20 of your baby’s teeth will be fully formed by age 3.
Lower front teeth are normally grown first.
Once the lower front teeth have fully grown, you’ll have a little solace for a month or two before the top front teeth begin to grow. The teeth will then come in according to the following chart:
- Lateral Incisor: The teeth right next to the front teeth. These teeth grow in the top first (9 – 13 months) and then in the bottom (10 – 16 months).
- Canine: The teeth next to the lateral, two over from the front teeth. Tops grow In between month 16 and 22 while bottoms grow in between months 17 and 23.
- First Molar: The first molar will grow in between months 13 and 19 on the top and between months 14 and 18 on the bottom.
- Second Molar: The final set of molars will come in between months 25 and 33 on the top and months 23 and 31 on the bottom.
And you can expect these teeth to fall out in the same order with the front teeth falling out between ages 6 and 7, laterals between 7 and 8, canine between 9 and 12, first molars between 9 and 11 and second molar between ages 10 and 12. This is a natural and exciting time because your baby will start to be able to eat soft foods and slowly progress to hard foods.
9 Signs That a Baby is Teething
Every child is different, and your child may or may not experience any symptoms. But it’s highly likely they will. Just like teeth come in at different times for different babies, the symptoms of teething can also vary greatly. Symptoms can last days or months depending on how many teeth are coming through.
If you and your child are lucky and only one tooth is growing through, you can expect the symptoms to last a few days before they subside. However, if your baby has a slew of teeth coming in at the same time, be prepared for months of a very cranky and angry baby.
The symptoms most commonly experienced, include:
- Restless nights
- Face rubbing
- Swollen gums
- Visible tooth below the gum
- Biting, chewing or sucking on any item in reach
- Not wanting to eat
- Ear grabbing
According to physicians, only 33% of babies will have a particular symptom. For example, your baby may be irritable and have swollen gums, but she may not have any of the other symptoms experienced.
And it is also important to understand what is not a typical symptom of teething. Babies that are teething will not experience:
- Runny nose
The American Academy of Pediatrics confirm that the three symptoms above are not related to teething. If your baby has the three symptoms above for a period of 24 hours or longer, it’s time to go to your physician to have her checked out.
Easing Your Baby’s Pain and Discomfort
Now that you know when babies start teething, you’ll also want to know what you can do to ease your little one’s pain and discomfort.
A few tips to ease the pain are:
- Apply Pressure: Light pressure on the area of the gums that are swollen may help. Many mothers will clean their finger and perform a gum massage in hopes of easing their baby’s pain. Since there are no teeth present, it won’t be much of an issue. You can also use a wet toothbrush.
- Cold Food and Drinks: Please never give your baby an ice cube. Instead, give your baby cold water or milk. Cold foods, such as yogurt or applesauce can also provide some relief and will help your baby keep down some food if she hasn’t been eating due to the pain.
- Chewing: Your baby knows best, and he or she will start to chew on every toy or object in sight. For whatever reason, chewing seems to ease the pain and works so well that there are special toys for babies that are teething. Teething rings or rattles seem to work very well.
- Baby Acetaminophen: Baby aspirins or pain relievers may do the trick. Always consult with your doctor first, and make sure to keep medicine to a minimum.
The truth is that while it may be hard to watch your baby struggle and be in pain, it will subside and he or she is going through a process that every baby before him has gone through before. Now, if your baby has not shown any signs of teeth after 18 months, it’s time to discuss your options with a pediatrician. Some babies do develop slower, and you’ll likely see a dentist that specializes in baby teeth.
In most cases, it is a game of wait and see, but there may be an underlying issue that is causing your baby to not grow his or her teeth normally which may be a concern. Again, in most cases, the teeth will come in on their own and there isn’t much to worry about.
When to Start Brushing Baby Teeth
Now that your baby has teeth, you’re probably wondering when or if you should be brushing them. The good news is that all of his baby teeth will fall out and new ones will grow in eventually. This allows for some room of error on your part.
First things first, you always want to use a toothpaste formulated for babies. Adult toothpaste, depending on the brand, can contain toxic ingredients when swallowed. While you may not be negatively affected by swallowing your toothpaste once, your baby is too small and can reach toxicity levels much faster than an adult. You can begin brushing the moment you see a tooth that is fully erupted.
And doctors recommend using just a wet toothbrush at this time. You will brush away plaque with just the bristles alone, so a wet toothbrush will suffice. But you can start using baby formulated toothpaste that is the size of a grain of rice. If you’re eager to use fluoride toothpaste, doctors recommend waiting until your baby is three years old.
There are also toothpastes that are safely swallowed, and this is a good idea for kids of all ages.
Brushing should be done on and around the teeth. Remain gentle when brushing and do not apply too much pressure. If you apply too much pressure, you can damage the enamel on the teeth, or hurt the baby in the process.
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