Most of the time, when a parent talks about their baby teething, it usually sounds like a nightmare to first-time parents. While teething can be a painful phase for many, knowing about it and being informed can prepare you and make it easier to help your baby through this phase. So, let's make the monstrous journey of teething a bit easier. Read on! 

 

What is Baby Teething?

Medically known as odontiasis, in simple words, teething is the phase when your baby's teeth start to come through their gums. From the time they cut their first tooth till they get all molars; the whole phase is teething for babies.  

When Does Baby Start Teething? 

Usually, the phase of teething starts from the age of 4 months. However, it can start later at around seven months, while it can be delayed until the first birthday for some. The milestones can be different for different babies; thus, there is nothing to worry about if your baby doesn't start teething sooner. 

What If Teething Starts Later Than You Expect?

It is important to remember that the baby teething age reference charts are just indicative and average of when babies start teething. Just like some kids might start teething earlier than the average age range, some might fall outside the range and teeth later. So, you do not need to worry even if your baby doesn't cut his first tooth till the first birthday.

However, a parent's instinct is always right. If you feel like your child has a dental concern and you need to consult a specialist, it will only put you at ease or help start early treatment if required, by doing so. 

How Long Does Teething Last?

The timeline and duration of teething will vary for each baby. The first tooth of your baby, which will be a lower central incisor, will erupt at around six months of age. Followed by Canines and first molars, the second molar, the last milk tooth will appear around 26 – 33 months. This means the teething will last for almost two years, and it is always better to be prepared and know what to expect.  

How Many Teeth Will Your Baby Have?

The first set of teeth that your baby will grow are the primary teeth, also known as milk teeth. By the age of 2 or 3, your baby will have 20 teeth which will include – 

  • Four central incisors
  • Four lateral incisors 
  • Four canines
  • Four first molars
  • Four second molars

Around the age of six, these primary teeth will start to fall off, and your baby will grow new teeth – the permanent teeth. 

Signs And Symptoms of Teething

A baby on teething stage can be very irritated because of the pain and other baby teething signs/ symptoms that follow. Thus, parents and caregivers need to know these symptoms to help the kids in distress. 

Here are the most common baby teething symptoms – 

  • Irritability – Due to baby teething pain, your little bundle of joy will be fussier and more irritated than usual during the phase of teething. 
  • Disturbed sleep - is one of the most common baby teething problems that your little one will experience. Due to the pain and irritation, they will not sleep well, keep getting up, and might even end up crying a lot. 
  • More drooling – Experts believe that saliva soothes gums, and thus babies drool more than usual when they are in the teething phase. 
  • Chewing on things – Gnawing or chewing on things also helps soothe inflamed and sore gums. Thus, your baby might suddenly become fond of a hard toy or baby teething ring to chew on.  
  • Sore, swollen gums – The teeth which are about to erupt, the gums in that area might look swollen and feel sore for your baby. 
  • Low-grade temperature – Baby teething fever is another very common sign indicating pain and irritation in gums for babies. This will not be a high fever, but just a slight elevation in the body temperature. If your baby's body temperature is more than 100 degrees, it is advised to consult the paediatrician. 

Baby Teething Timeline

The following table shows in what order and around which month your baby will have the 20 teeth mentioned in the section "How Many Teeth Will Your Baby Have."  

Teeth Type

Top Set

Bottom Set

Central Incisors

8 – 12 months 

6 – 10 months

Lateral Incisors

9 – 13 months

10 – 16 months

Canines

16 – 22 months

17 – 23 months

First Molars

13 – 19 months

14 – 18 months

Second Molars

25 – 33 months

23 – 31 months


Source – American Dental Association

How To Soothe Your Teething Baby?

  • Many parents have tried and benefited from giving their baby something cold to chew on to help soothe the gums. A cold pacifier, baby teething toys that are filled with water and can be frozen, a clean wet washcloth, a frozen carrot are a few examples of things that can help. 
  • Massaging your baby's gums with a clean finger also helps in soothing their gums. As mentioned in the earlier point, dipping your finger in cold water will also benefit something cold to chew on. 
  • Offering foods that are a little hard to chew also offer something healthy for babies to chew on. For example, sugar-free biscuits, homemade toasts, and nankhatai (cookies) are very helpful for babies to soothe their painful teething gums. 
  • It is not just the teething pain but also the drool that dries around the chin and lips that irritates the baby during the teething phase. So, keep cleaning the drool with a soft cloth from time to time. 
  • Sometimes no baby teething remedies work, and the only option left is to opt for baby teething medicine. Please ensure you speak to your baby's paediatrician before giving them any pain medication to soothe teething pains. 

Dental Care for Babies

Although your baby's primary teeth will eventually fall off, developing good habits even when dental hygiene is important and will help your baby adopt healthy habits early on. Consider the following from an early age –

  • Start brushing your baby's teeth from the time the very first tooth erupts. There are many baby finger brushes available which you can wear on your finger and brush the teeth and gums of your baby. 
  • Once your baby is grown enough to hold a brush, get a fluoride-free toothpaste, a toothbrush and let them have fun exploring the fun of brushing. Make it a routine and get them to brush their teeth twice a day and after kids have had a dessert. 
  • Sweetened drinks like flavoured milk, sugary health mixes for milk, cold drinks, etc., are the best friends of cavities. Avoid sugary and unhealthy drinks and develop a habit of healthy drinks in babies for good dental health. 
  • Similarly, chocolates, sweets, sugary treats are an enemy of good dental health. So, avoid offering too many sweets to kids regularly. 
  • One important thing that many parents avoid is regular dental check-ups. Do not follow the "Visit a doctor only when something is wrong" for kids. Regular dental check-ups can avoid painful cavities or other dental issues that might get detected later. 

Some Interesting Facts About Baby Teeth

Here are some worth-knowing facts about baby teeth that you might find interesting!

  • It is often prescribed that kids use fluoride-free toothpaste. Although fluoride is an essential mineral for teeth, it can be dangerous if ingested. Thus, until babies do not learn to spit the toothpaste out properly, they should be offered a child-friendly toothpaste. 
  • Girls may erupt teeth sooner than boys do. 
  • The primary teeth are whiter than permanent teeth. 
  • On average, two sets of teeth (4 teeth) will erupt every six months. 
  • A child will have only 20 primary teeth. However, after they start to fall, they will be replaced by 28 – 32 permanent or secondary teeth.  

So, till the time the teeth start to show and lighten your room with their smile, enjoy the toothless grin of your little one. The teething phase and even a bit of discomfort or pain are unavoidable, but ensuring that you are there to soothe them and help them through this phase with the right knowledge is vital.

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