A baby starting to get his or her first teeth is an important and exciting step in their growth process. These soon-to-be teeth will allow them to eat, speak clearly, and of course brighten their smile.
While it is a time to be celebrated, it can also be challenging for both parent and child. For the parent, it can be frustrating having your baby – who JUST started sleeping through the night – now waking up again due to pain caused by teething. The child is dealing with consistent pain and discomfort as the body continues its growing process.
When Does Teething Occur?
Babies typically get their first tooth between 6 -12 months of age, with teething beginning as early as three months old. Although the timing can vary, the first teeth to appear are typically the bottom front teeth (lower central incisors), which are quickly followed by the top front teeth (upper central incisors.)
With these growing teeth can come:
- Sore or tender gums
- Excessive drooling
- Crankiness or moodiness
- Slight increase in temperature (but no full fever)
- Increase in biting
- Loss of appetite
How to Comfort Your Teething Baby
Teething is generally a painful process for babies. As parents, you of course want to take away your child’s pain and discomfort. While there is no perfect remedy for teething, there are many tips and tricks for alleviating your child’s pain.
- Rub their gums. Using a clean finger or wet gauze, gently rub their gums with slight pressure. The pressure mixed with massaging motions can help ease their discomfort
- Have a routine. Trouble sleeping is often a sign of teething. Keep your child’s schedule and routines in place to help them feel comfortable and secure.
- Use cold compresses. Chill (but don’t freeze!) a favorite toy or wet washcloth for your baby to chew on. It’s key to only chill them, and not fully freeze them, to avoid injury.
- Visit your dentist. Your dentist will check your baby’s teeth to ensure they are coming in and developing correctly, and will also discuss teething gels, teething rings, and additional ways to help soothe your child.
When you’ve made it through the teething stage, it’s important to clean your baby’s new teeth twice per day with a damp washcloth or infant toothbrush. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends scheduling your child’s first dental visit at the age of one. You can schedule a dental exam even earlier if there is any trauma or concerns. Beginning a dental routine for your child at an early age will help set them up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums!