Your baby’s first tooth is usually a huge milestone, truly an event which will to make it to the baby book with lots of congratulatory notes to family members and celebrations with pictures. An early developer may get the first tooth as early as 3 months and a late bloomer not until the first birthday – the time and age varies from baby to baby but a huge majority of babies have their first tooth between 4 and 7 months of age.
Baby teeth already start forming while in the womb and form as tooth buds in the gums. Post-delivery, they break through one at a time over the ensuing months. Usually, the bottom two middle teeth appear first, then the top two in the middle, then the ones along the sides and the back. They may not appear in a straight line but usually align over a period of time.
The second molars at the very back of the mouth on the top and the bottom are the last teeth to appear usually by the 3rd birthday. The baby should have a full set of 20 milk teeth by the age of 3 before they fall off around the age of 6 for the permanent teeth to grow.
There is a notion that infant teething comes with symptoms like irritability, diarrhoea, and fever but there is no scientific evidence co-relating the two. From pure coincidence to the only possible connection being that teething infants love putting any object they come in contact with, to soothe their itchy gums and in more than one case, those objects would carry some virus or germs which results in fever or diarrhoea.
There are babies who teeth with no problems at all and some who manifest discomfort and irritability, loose motions and diaper rash, a runny nose, fever, drooling which can lead to facial rash, swollen gums and sensitivity, constant urge to gnaw or chew, lack of appetite, vomiting and broken sleep patterns.
One cannot do much about the discomfort that comes with teething except help the baby feel better –
- Give something clean and safe for the baby to nibble or gnaw, and soothe the gums of the pain. Just be mindful that the baby does not choke on that.
- If the baby is on solids, serve cold food like yogurt
- If the discomfort is extreme, doctors may recommend infant pain reliever under guided dosage
- No painkillers or teething gels should be applied, they have serious side effects.
Teething time is not easy for the infant as well as the parents. It requires more than patience and loads of it at that.