Fun Facts about Baby’s Teeth
· Primary teeth are called baby teeth. On average, children begin teething around 4 to 7 months, and have a total of 20 “baby teeth” by age 3. If eruption of the first tooth has not occurred by 18 months, the child should be referred to a dentist for evaluation.
· A helpful mnemonic to remember the timing of primary eruption is the 7+4 rule.
o At 7 months of age, your baby with the first teeth
o At 11 months (4 months later), your baby with 4 teeth.
o At 15 months of age (4 months later), your baby with 8 teeth
o At 19 months, your baby with 12 teeth
o At 23 months, your baby with 16 teeth
o At 27 months, your baby with 20 teeth.
· Teeth will sometimes erupt entirely out of the “normal” anticipated sequence; this should not be a concern.
· Tooth loss (also known as shedding or exfoliation) usually starts with the lower primary central incisors.
· Children should be encouraged to discontinue their non-nutritive sucking habits by 4 years of age.
· Prolonged thumb sucking may cause problems with proper growth of the mouth and the alignment of teeth. It also can cause changes in the roof of the mouth.
What is Teething?
Teething is normal but may be a painful experience for infants and toddlers. Occasional symptoms of teething may include mild irritability, drooling, and an urge to chew something hard. Your precious ones may cry more often or increase in fussiness. It may also impact on your baby’s eating or sleeping patterns. Teething can be rough for you and your baby at first. But it will get easier as you learn how to soothe each new tooth that pops out.
What to expect during teething?
Teething is when the first primary (baby) teeth through a baby’s gums emerge. Teething begins as early as 3 months and continues until the child is approximately 3 years of age.
Precaution Measures for Parents: Things to avoid during teething
There are serious risks associated with using jewellery marketed for relieving teething pain such as choking, strangulation, injury to the mouth, and infection. Other concerns include potential injury to the mouth or infection if a piece of the jewellery irritates or pierces your kid’s gums.
Parents might also look to relieve a teething baby by rubbing numbing medications on the child’s gums. Prescription and OTC benzocaine oral health care drug products are also widely used in adults. Doctors and dentists often use sprays containing benzocaine to numb the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat or to suppress the gag reflex during medical and surgical procedures. But benzocaine sprays are not FDA-approved for baby teething. Unless prescribed by a healthcare professional, avoid use of these medicines. The use of benzocaine gels, sprays, ointments, solutions, and lozenges for mouth and gum pain can lead to a serious condition called methemoglobinemia, in which the oxygen-carrying capacity of red blood cells is greatly reduced. In 2010, the FDA issued a warning against belladonna containing teething tablets and teething gel due to toxicity concerns.
Thus, it is important to use products that have been validated by healthcare professionals for teething use.
Tips for Parents: Managing Teething
What works to soothe a friend’s baby might not work for yours. You may need to try different things to help your little one feel better.
Babies, especially those who are teething, love to chew. It is important to make sure you know what your precious one is putting into the mouth. Of course, you will need to ensure that the item is safe and clean. Letting your baby chew on teething rings and baby biscuits can help to relieve the pressure in his gums. Alternatively, try a gentle massage on your baby's gums with a clean and wet fingertip.
Often, something cold in your baby’s mouth helps. Try a cold pacifier, spoon, clean wet washcloth, or a solid (not liquid) refrigerated teething toy or ring. It important to refrigerate and not freeze. Frozen teething toys can hurt your baby’s mouth. Make sure to clean teething toys, washcloths, and other items after the baby uses them.
Cuddling with your baby can comfort him and distract him from the pain
If you are breast feeding your baby, try dipping your fingers in cool water and massaging her gums before each feeding. That may keep her from biting your nipple while breast feeding.
Tips for Parents: Promote Healthy Teeth for Your Precious Ones
Prevent tooth decay today! Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Start brushing when your baby’s first tooth comes in. At age 3 onward, use a pea-size fluoride toothpaste and watch your child brush twice daily.
Baby teeth may be small, but they are important. They act as placeholders for adult teeth. Without a healthy set of baby teeth, your child will have trouble chewing and speaking clearly. That is why caring for baby teeth and keeping them decay-free is so important.
Begin wiping the gums of even a very small infant with a soft washcloth or soft toothbrush, even prior to tooth eruption, to establish a daily oral hygiene routine. When the first baby teeth start to pop up, you can graduate to a toothbrush. Toothbrushes for infants and toddlers should be soft with a small head and a large handle.
Clean or brush a young child’s teeth twice daily. All accessible surfaces of each tooth need to be brushed.
Toothbrushing should be supervised until the child can reliably rinse and spit out excess toothpaste (usually 6 years of age). Younger children do not have the hand coordination necessary for independent toothbrushing prior to that age.
Brushing teeth without fluoride toothpaste until the age of 18 months. Introducing a low-fluoride toothpaste when a child is approximately 18 months old. Choose a low-fluoride toothpaste designed especially for children
Be sure however that your child can expectorate (spit) before starting to use fluoride toothpastes because excess fluoride when ingested can cause discolouration or fluorosis of the adult teeth during development.
1. American Academy of Pediatrics. A Pediatric Guide to Children’s Oral Health. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009. https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Oral-Health/Documents/OralHealthFCpagesF2_2_1.pdf
2. Teething. American Dental Association. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/teething
3. Safely Soothing Teething Pain and Sensory Needs in Babies and Older Children. December 2018. FDA https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm385817.htm
4. Amita Shroff. Teething: Symptoms and Remedies. WebMD. June 12, 2017. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/teething-symptoms-remedies#2
5. Dental care – fluoride. Better Health Channel Victorian Minister for Health, Australia. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/dental-care-fluoride
6. Dr Stephenie. Children’s Teeth: What All Parents Should Know. https://anza.org.sg/2018/03/27/childrens-teeth-what-all-parents-should-know/
7. Teething tablets and gels for babies recalled in Singapore after FDA advisory. ASIAONE. Oct 21, 2016. http://www.asiaone.com/health/teething-tablets-and-gels-babies-recalled-singapore-after-fda-advisory