Teething 101: What to expect when your baby sprouts those pearly whites
It’s joyful to see your baby cut his first tooth. This new milestone means your little one adds more cuteness to his smile! Babies usually cut their first tooth at six months and subsequently sprout twenty milk teeth till the age of 2.5 to 3 years. While some babies breeze through teething with little fuss, some others don’t have it easy. Dr R. K. Anand tells us how to handle the teething phase right.
Teething does not Give Rise to Any Serious Illness
One of my teachers used to say, “Teething causes teething and hardly anything else.” It is true. If your child has high fever or diarrhea or any symptom worth taking note of, please do not ascribe it to teething.
When the actual tooth is erupting, your child may become irritable or may drool a lot. It is also true that children do have more diarrhea around the period of teething, possibly due to introduction of foods other than breast milk. The food may be contaminated. The itching in their gums cause the child to put things in the mouth that may give him an infection. So we must look for a possible cause for any symptom or an illness that occurs when the child is teething.
Comfort during Teething
All your child probably needs is more body contact. Give him something clean to bite. I do not recommend gels for local application available in the market. A little discomfort is part of growing up. Let him feel secure in the arms of a caring adult during such painful experiences. Rub his gums if he likes it. Wash your hands and use your fingers for this purpose. If he continues to be irritable, give a dose of paracetamol repeated after 4 to 6 hours, if required.
Delay in eruption of Teeth
There is a lot of variation in eruption of the teeth. Some babies celebrate their birth with a tooth. Most cut their tooth at around 6 months. Others may do so around one year. However, the gums may start getting ready from 3 to 4 months onwards, giving rise to irritability, a tendency to bite, and drooling. So long as the child does not have any associated problem, delayed appearance of teeth is normal.
Bottle feeding and sugar are very bad for the teeth. Bottle feeding is especially bad if the bottle is given to the child in sleep. Some children get more cavities in their upper teeth as the tongue protects the lower ones. Lack of calcium does not give rise to caries of teeth.
Don’t let your child develop a sweet tooth form an early age. To begin with give no sugar or sweets. Later on, ensure as little intake of sugar as is possible. Chewing gum and toffees are worse than sweets because they are likely to remain stuck to the teeth.
When it comes to taking medicines for any condition, choose a tablet (if he has already learnt to swallow a tablet) over syrup.
Maintaining good dental hygiene early on ensures fewer visits to the dentist in the future. With a little care, your child and you will soon sail through teething before you know it.
Source: Book - Guide to Child Care by Dr R K Anand