Baby teething

B A B Y  A N D  C H I L D


Your baby’s first teeth are all formed and waiting to emerge at the time of birth. As breast milk is nature’s way of supplying food in the early months of life, it’s logical that teeth which may damage precious nipple and surrounding tissue, should not appear until late in the feeding months. (Indeed, this is what usually happens.) It’s also possible that the feeding action of the baby’s mouth on the soft breast tissue delays the emergence of the first teeth.

If the baby is bottle fed, then the baby works more vigorously on the harder rubber teat and perhaps the first teeth can emerge a little earlier in the case of a bottle fed baby.

Teeth usually appear in a certain order. However, the timing can vary up to six months either early or late. The first teeth to appear are the lower central incisors and they often appear at about the six months stage of life. Teeth tend to appear in pairs, generally one after the other and the lower pairs first. From the age of six months the first teeth, which will number 20, usually appear every two to three months. As the number increases there may be a longer gap between the molar and the incisor teeth which should all have appeared towards the end of the second year.

By the age of three your child should have all twenty first teeth in place. If this has not occurred or if there is an extra tooth, a dentist should be consulted in order to prepare for the emergence of the permanent teeth later on in life. These start to appear around the age of 6 and the first to appear are the molars, one on either side, top and bottom, which appear behind the baby molars and don’t actually displace any teeth.

At about the age of 7 the first four front incisors will come out one by one and up until the age of 10, they will be replaced as will the molars on each side of the mouth. By the age of 10 your child could have 24 permanent teeth and by 15 the canine will have been replaced and permanent teeth will number 28. From the age of 15 upwards, the third permanent molars right at the back, the so called ‘wisdom teeth’ may or may not appear.

Whilst the cutting of teeth or teething may be associated with discomfort and irritability, it is wise to never assume that any physical symptom other than a dribble, is due to teething. Teething can be associated with certain symptoms such as rashes, crying, feeding problems and even mild diarrhoea. Such symptoms usually last for less than a couple of days so be on the lookout for persistent symptoms. Your doctor should be consulted if you are concerned about teething problems and especially if you observe a general deterioration in the baby’s appearance.

Aids such as teething gels, pain killer and sedatives should only be used if advised by your doctor. Teething rings pose no problems. Cool things seem to soothe. A cold carrot from the refrigerator or a teething ring containing a gel which freezes and holds its low temperature if kept in the refrigerator between feeds may be a help. But rusks and cold hard carrots can produce an emergency if your baby chews off a small piece and starts to choke on it. Ice can also be dangerous, and should not be used. Finally, rubbing the gums with your finger which has been dipped in cold water may help but do so with care as some of your child’s teeth may be very sharp.

- Aspirin and Young Children (Reyes Syndrome).- Autism.
- Bed Wetting or Nocturnal Enuresis. - Breast or Bottle Feeding.
- Chicken Pox (Varicella). - Childhood Immunization/Vaccination
- Convulsions in Childhood. - Croup.
- Cystic Fibrosis (CF). - Deafness in Childhood.
- Diarrhoea and Vomiting. - Downs Syndrome.
- Dyslexia. - Fever in Infants.
- German Measles (Rubella). -Heart Murmurs
-Heat Exhaustion in Children.-Hyperactivity in Childhood.
-Nappy Rash.-Normal Development (Baby Care).
-Speech Development in Children-Spina Bifida.
-Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or Cot Death.-Teething.
-Your Baby Won't Sleep.-Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

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