Teething: Facts, Myths, Do’s and Don’ts
Teething is part of the natural process of your baby growing up, and it is eagerly awaited by most parents. In general, a baby’s first teeth arrive between the fourth and seventh month, though it isn’t unheard of for a baby to go a full year without a tooth. While that first tooth is a source of pride for many parents, it also can be a difficult time because of the teething, irritation and inflammation that accompanies the eruption of primary teeth. In order to get through the teething period, it’s important to understand the facts, myths, do’s and don’ts related to primary teeth and teething.
Facts. Your child will have 20 primary teeth that will give way to 32 permanent teeth. Teething symptoms are seldom the same in any two babies, though symptoms are quite common and likely to happen. The symptoms can appear between several days and several weeks before a tooth erupts, according to experts. The two bottom front teeth, followed by the top front teeth – the incisors – are generally the first to appear, according to the American Dental Association. An average child will have all 20 teeth by their third birthday. The most common symptoms of teething are drooling, fussiness, loss of appetite, swollen gums and trouble sleeping.
Myths. Studies have shown there is no connection teething and running a fever, even though some pediatricians still believe that teething triggers a mild fever. If your child has fever, particularly if it persists for a couple of days, take a trip to the doctor because teething is not the cause. Another myth associated with teething is that it causes diarrhea, which also has been disproven through studies.
Do’s. Once your child’s tooth has broken through, regular massage of those sore gums with a cool cloth will offer some relief. A cool teething ring also is popular with many teething babies, according to experts. Depending on the age of your baby, cold foods – things like yogurt and applesauce – can be quite soothing. If your child is having trouble sleeping and the irritability is significant, check with your pediatrician. A small dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be wise. Remember, however, to never give your baby aspirin.
Don’ts. Never give you baby any type of teething necklace because of the risk of choking. A teething ring can be quite soothing, but make sure the liquid is not frozen. Your baby will want to bite down hard while teething, and using frozen teething rings can potentially lead to an injury. Hard, frozen foods like a banana also should never be used because they can break into small pieces and create a choking risk.