These tips will help your baby cut her chompers with as little pain as possible.
There’s not a nursing mom out there who hasn’t gazed down at her nursing infant and wondered with a mix of curiosity and fear, “when will my baby get her first tooth?”
Teething ranks right up there among the highest stressors infants face, experts know, because along with the new pearly whites come loads of fussiness as they cut through your little one’s gums. Do you know that your baby was born with her tooth buds already embedded in her gums?
Long before you ever see the first edge of a tooth pushing its way into your baby’s mouth, you may notice that she is a lot more fussy than usual, is drooling, wants to nurse or feed more often and may have a low-grade fever (up to 100.9⁰F). Your baby may also want to put everything in her mouth and chew with her gums. Excess saliva may cause a rash around the face and she may refuse to nurse although she seems interested in nursing.
Contrary to popular beliefs, teething doesn’t give your baby a high fever (101⁰F or more) or diarrhea. When these symptoms are present, it’s time to see your pediatrician.
Although babies can even be born with a tooth or two already in, they will get their two bottom and two top front teeth in that order before the molars and side teeth emerge. By their third birthday babies should have 20 teeth in total. As their teeth debut, you may even see small cysts on the gums where the tooth below is breaking through.
You can help your baby ease into her teeth with minimal discomfort by practicing good gum care from birth. Ask your dentist for or purchase a finger-sock-like baby toothbrush or use a washcloth and begin massaging his or her gums with cool water on a regular basis. Skip the toothpaste until she is age 3 and can swish and spit it out, say experts at the American Dental Association.
It’s time for your baby’s first visit to a pediatric dentist when she has 8 teeth in her mouth, which is typically around age 1. Starting early with good dental care will not only help your baby with her first set of teeth but will also protect permanent teeth from bacteria and decay as they’re forming in the gums, and until they begin to make their first appearances around age 6.
Give your baby something cold to mash her gums against to reduce pain and swelling while teething. Avoid pain medications (infant Tylenol is OK) unless nothing else soothes her. Up to half of parents say they try a numbing gel for pain relief. If you’re using a teething gel, try a small amount on your own gums to gauge the effect before using it on your baby.