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Some kids are born with their first teeth already poking through. And then other kids don’t teethe until their first birthday. Most children fall somewhere between these two. As it’s quite unpredictable as to when your baby will start teething, it’s understandable to worry if the cause of your child’s tears is teething or if it’s something else.
That’s why you need to know the key symptoms and signs. After that, you need to know how to soothe your child during the teething process. But before we consider these important points, let’s find out what teething is.
What is Teething?
Teething is quite simply the name given to the process of baby teeth – or deciduous teeth or milk teeth – beginning to grow inside an infant’s mouth. Teething tends to start when a child is aged between 5 and 7 months. It can, however, begin earlier or later, but no later than 12 months.
Do the Teeth Come in a Certain Order?
Yes. Generally, when babies teethe, they do so in pairs. The first teeth that will come through are the bottom incisors. Your child will be aged between 5 and 7 months when these two teeth come through. The next teeth to come through are the top incisors, which will come through just afterward, at around 6, 7, or 8 months.
After the top incisors, the top lateral incisors will come through, a little later again, between 9 and 11 months. After the top lateral incisors, then your baby’s next teeth will be the bottom lateral incisors, which will grow through between 10 and 12 months.
After these teeth, the next pair will be the first molars at the back of your child’s mouth, and they’ll come through between 12 and 16 months. The canines come through next, and that’ll be between 16 and 20 months. The final teeth to come through will be the second molars, and they’ll come through anytime between 20 and 30 months. That’s it. Then your child will have all of their milk teeth.
What are the Signs that my Baby is Teething?
If your baby is a few months old, then it’s understandable to start asking whether their behavior is because of teething or for another reason. Let’s have a look at the top signs that a baby is teething:
- Check your child’s gums. If you see an area where it is red and looks sore, then look closer to see if you can notice any cracks where teeth might be coming through. The gums are always the very first place that you should check if you suspect that your child might be teething.
- A red or flushed cheek is another major sign that your child is teething.
- Does your child keep rubbing their ear? If so, then this is a signal that they might be teething.
- Have you noticed that your child is dribbling a lot more than they usually do? Then there’s a good chance that your child is teething, especially if this symptom is combined with the previous ones on this list.
- A very common sign that a child is teething is that they try to chew or gnaw on things. If your child immediately puts everything in their mouth and starts chewing, then they’re probably teething.
- Fretfulness is a common emotion for your child to exhibit when they are teething. If your child is not generally fretful, or they appear to be far more fretful than they usually are, then this could mean that your child is in the process of teething.
Some symptoms are commonly misattributed to teething. These include the following:
- Fever will never be caused by teething, even though it’s widely thought of as being a symptom of teething by a parent. That’s because a heightened temperature is commonly related to teething, but a genuine fever will not be a result of teething. A fever is more likely a result of an illness, and if your child is exhibiting a fever, then you should see a doctor.
- Diarrhea is another symptom that is often related to teething but has nothing to do with it. If your child has diarrhea, then they should be taken to a doctor.
Tips for Soothing Teething Babies
Teething is a painful time for babies; that’s why it is so often related to endless tears and crying. Your little one isn’t old enough to know what is happening inside their mouth, and they just want to make the pain go away. Fortunately, there are some things that parents can do to help soothe their child during the teething process. These include:
- Teething rings are a fantastic invention that every parent should invest in if they want to help to soothe their child during the teething process. A teething ring offers your child something safe and clean for them to chew on while they’re teething. Usually, teething rings are chilled in the refrigerator so that the coolness can help to soothe the hot and painful gums of your child when they put it inside their mouth. Make sure that you never tie the teething ring around your child’s neck, as this could lead to strangulation, and you should always make sure that you never put the teething ring in the freezer. Why? Because a frozen teething ring could damage your child’s tender gums.
- Teething can cause your child a lot of pain. And there are times when it’s okay to give them a painkiller, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. Make sure that these are sugar-free. You should never give painkillers to a child who is under three months. Aspirin is not recommended to any child that is under 16 years old. If you’re worried about giving your child a painkiller, then do not hesitate to contact a doctor or medical professional for peace of mind. Always follow the instructions that are on the box.
- Some parents have found that rubbing your child’s sore gum with a clean finger can help to comfort your child.
Distraction is sometimes a good method. Comforting your child and doing something that takes their attention away from their pain can be a good way to bring some solace to your teething child.
What to do When the Teeth Come Through
It’s time to take your child to the dentist. Make sure to be relaxed about this and prepare your child properly. Your child shouldn’t fear the dentist. It’s the dentist who will take care of your child’s teeth. Choosing a dentist that both you and your child are comfortable with can be a good long-term decision.
Now you know if your child is teething or not. If they’re displaying any of the symptoms that we’ve described here, then there’s a good chance that the process has started. This may be a testing time, but it’s one that every child must go through – and parent, too. Good Luck!