The arrival of teeth is a natural process for all babies. The times when teeth appear vary from baby to baby but generally most babies get their first tooth on the lower jaw from around 6-10 months of age. As babies contract a lot of minor infections and high fevers in their first year of life, many parents believe that teething is the cause, but research has shown it is just coincidental.
Comforting your baby during teething
- Hugs and cuddles will help comfort and reassure baby if he or she is distressed.
- Give your baby a teething ring to chew on or if your baby is over six months a teething rusk, can be useful.
- If teething is causing your baby discomfort, a teething gel massaged into the gums with a clean finger may provide relief. Look for one that is sugar free, colour free and alcohol free and always check the dosage instructions and expiry date carefully.
- Your baby is born with all their baby or primary teeth and they should have their first 20 teeth by the time they are three years of age.
- For some babies the arrival of teeth happens without any pain, whilst for other babies teething may cause discomfort.
- Teeth usually come through in pairs starting with the bottom front followed by the top two middle and then along the sides and back.
Caring for your baby’s teeth?
- Clean your baby’s gums well before the teeth start to appear by wiping them with a clean, thin, damp washer.
- As soon as your baby’s teeth start to appear, clean them twice a day in the morning and at night with either a clean, thin, damp washer or soft toothbrush with a small head.
- The best time to start using toothpaste is when your baby is around 18 months of age, and then only use a very small smear of a toddler-safe toothpaste variety.
How to prevent decay?
When your baby starts solids, offer healthy foods, low in sugar.
If you’re bottle feeding, always take the bottle out of your baby’s mouth as soon as he or she is finished.
Never prop up a bottle on a cushion or towel, to feed baby – this is not only a choking hazard but it can cause tooth decay.
- Help your baby avoid tooth decay by brushing and avoiding foods with added sugar.
- Bacteria is easily passed on so don’t use your mouth to clean spoons or dummies before giving to baby.
- Tresillian recommends weaning baby off the dummy altogether around 12 months of age.