Teething and Tooth Care for Your Child
As with all things every baby is different. Some babies have a terrible time with teething, others you don’t even know it is happening till you see a pearly tooth in their mouths.
Often if a child is unsettled, teething can be blamed unnecessarily. If a child is under four months and is unsettled it is rarely due to teeth. I would suggest you look for other causes first. Take baby’s temperature, check if she is not too hot or cold. Is she over-tired or hungry or does your baby have reflux?
Possible signs of teething
Dribbling, rosy cheeks, chewing on everything, pulling ears, loose bowels, swollen gums, irritability and disinterested in feeding can be signs of teething.
High fevers don’t usually come with teething and paracetamol should rarely be used as it can cause damage to the liver.
Tooth and gum care
Teething rings and finger food may help. Offering them cool from the fridge may help cool inflamed gums.
If your baby is over four months old, teething gels are often helpful. They should not be used in conjunction with paracetamol as you will be doubling up on the dosage.
Introduce a toothbrush. Children under seven years old should be assisted with cleaning their teeth.
Water is preferable to sweet drinks. Never give milk before sleeping unless you brush teeth immediately after, as this may cause tooth decay. At four to six months a cup should be introduced and bottles eliminated by twelve months.
Now is the time to give up the dummy and never put a sweetener on a dummy.
Visit the dentist regularly.
Don’t be surprised if your baby starts to bite, it may be an attempt to relieve the discomfort of teething. This may occur while breastfeeding which can be extremely painful for the mother. If your child already has teeth then the biting is probably due to other reasons such as boredom, frustration, excitement or experimentation. It may be a way to attract your attention. If you draw attention or make a big fuss over biting it may become a form of attention seeking. Also see Articles on Discipline
Baby’s bottom two incisors usually come up first then the top four, followed by two more on the bottom. This commonly occurs between 4 to 12 months. By 12 to 18 months her first molars will rise, top two then bottom two. Her canines, top then bottom, will appear around 18 to 24 months. The second molars, bottom then top two, from 24 to 30 months. Adult teeth usually start appearing from about five to six years old.
Tips: Start you child on good eating habits right from the start.
Remember: Visit the dentist regularly. Encourage your child to brush their own teeth but also continue to brush your child’s teeth till they are seven year old.
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