When a baby is born, all parents are eager to have their little one start smiling and showing their tiny little tooth pearls as soon as possible. It always helps to have some relevant information about your child’s baby teeth so that you don’t spend sleepless nights fretting about your precious little ones’ teeth. The appearance of baby teeth in the mouth is commonly called teething.
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When should I expect to see my child’s first baby tooth?
A common question in the mind of a parent is – when will the first baby tooth erupt in the mouth? The normal age for the first baby tooth to emerge in an infant’s mouth is between 6 to 12 months. However, it is quite natural to have baby teeth come into the mouth as early as 3 months or later than 12 months. This kind of variability is normal, and nothing to be concerned about.
Baby tooth timetable
Baby teeth generally (but not always) erupt in a definite sequence, and that sequence begins with the lower two front teeth (lower incisors) appearing first in the mouth. This is usually followed by the upper two front teeth (upper central incisors), followed by the remaining front teeth (lateral incisors), then the canines and finally the bigger, back teeth in the upper and lower jaws (molars).
Teeth will emerge gradually into the mouth, with sometimes a corner showing up first and then gradually the entire tooth makes its way into the mouth. By the age of 3 years, it is generally expected that your child will have a full set of baby teeth sparkling in his/her mouth and will be giving you picture- perfect smiles!
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What if a tooth/ teeth are present in the mouth already, at birth?
Rarely, a newborn may be born with a tooth/ teeth already in the mouth. This is not an alarming situation at all. Such teeth may be left undisturbed in the mouth, unless they are troublesome to the infant or mother. Possible problems may be related to pain while feeding the infant if the tooth in the mouth is sharp. Further, if the tooth is very loose, with the possibility of being swallowed by the child, it should be looked at by the child’s dentist or pediatric dentist.
In case of a problematic tooth present in the mouth since birth, the pediatric dentist may recommend its removal, for the comfort and safety of the child and mother.
Does your baby have problems while teething?
It is a common problem for parents to have a cranky and irritable child when a baby tooth is in the process of coming into the mouth. It is generally normal to see a few common signs of teething in your child such as drooling, swollen gums, irritability, crying, sleep disturbance and/or loss of appetite.
However, it is important to note that many signs are not directly linked to a child’s teething and may arise due to a number other reasons as well. If serious signs such as diarrhea, running nose and/or fever arise in your child, it is a good reason to visit the pediatrician, since these do not usually occur due to teething alone.
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How can I soothe my child during teething?
A child who is teething will require extra love, care and attention from his/her parents, because she or he is irritable and probably having an uncomfortable experience. There are many easy ways to relieve the irritation your child is feeling. For example, wash your hands and gently massage your child’s gums twice or thrice a day. This will provide a soothing sensation.
Further, a cold piece of clean, hard fruit such as carrot or cucumber may be given (under supervision) for the child to chew on. This again massages the gums and helps the new tooth erupt.
Commercial teethers are commonly available at chemists or online, which the baby can chew on. Please ensure that the teethers are regularly cleaned o avoid infection. The teethers may be chilled to soothe the gums further.
A child’s baby teeth are precious little diamonds that help her/ him to talk, smile and eat well, to ensure his/ her health and happiness. Enjoy every aspect of your child’s life and celebrate each moment, be it as big as his birth or as small as a tiny baby tooth showing up in his/ her tiny mouth!