Your baby’s first teeth are a big ‘smilestone’ for both you and your baby. When they first show off that big toothy grin, you won’t be able to help but smile back as this joyful moment is one you will treasure forever.
Babies are born with a full set of 20 teeth, but these pearly whites usually won’t start to show until five to six months of age. For some, they may start appearing from as early as three months to as late as twelve months of age. Your baby’s lower front teeth will be the first to come through, followed by the upper front teeth, one to two months after.
There are many telling signs that your little one is teething and these are a few of the most common ones:
Biting – Your little one is biting and chewing on anything they can get a hold of, including toys, fists and fingers.
Swollen gums – Your little one may have red swollen gums and flushed cheeks.
Irritability – Teething babies may seem crankier and more restless during this time.
Drooling – It’s extremely common for teething bubs to drool excessively as it is believed to help cool their inflamed gums. Be sure to wipe away excess saliva from the face as this may turn into a rash if not treated.
Grabbing – Babies may grab at their ears or rub their cheeks as a response to the discomfort.
Feeding – Your little one may not be as hungry as usual or may have trouble feeding.
Teething can be an arduous time for both bub and parent. You hate to see your baby in pain and sadly teething is a time where you just have to wait it through as there is no instant cure, just time.
To help get you through this period, here are some helpful tips that can be used to try to ease their pain (and yours):
- Let them chew on something cold like a clean, wet cloth. Teething rings may work wonders, and these can be chilled or frozen.
- Feed them cold foods like fruit purees or yoghurts straight from the fridge. You can also give them a sugar free rusk to gnaw on.
- Rub a small amount of teething gel on your little one’s gum to numb the area for 20 minutes and reduce the inflammation (Please note: do not use around feeding time as this can be a choking hazard for your child).
- Infant paracetamol and nurofen may also help ease baby’s discomfort. Check the dosage information on the packet and if you’re unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
The care of your baby’s teeth starts the moment they start teething. Start wiping your little one’s gums with a damp clean cloth once a day to reduce food and liquid build up. When your baby’s first teeth pop up, try not to put them to bed with a bottle as formula can pool in their mouth at night which can later lead to tooth decay.
Make brushing your baby’s teeth a fun part of their nightly routine to help support a healthy dental hygiene practice in the future. Using a soft baby toothbrush with a smear of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice, lightly brush their teeth at least once a day, slowly building up to twice a day by their second birthday. By the age of three, your child should have or be close to having their full set of primary teeth.
When those pearly whites start to shine through, it’s time for your little one’s first visit to the dentist. Their first visit will likely consist of the dentist taking their medical history and discussing teething, brushing techniques, prevention of decay and nutritional advice. When your little one’s first tooth starts to show, ring your local 1300SMILES location to organise an appointment.
Teething can be painful; however, your baby shouldn’t be experiencing a substantial amount of pain. If your baby has signs of teething, but also appears to be in a lot of pain or is crying inconsolably, please see your doctor.