Teething can be a long process, it may take your baby as long as three years to get a full mouth of teeth, but that doesn’t mean that the journey doesn’t start all the way in the womb. Your baby will begin to develop “tooth buds”, which will begin to break the gum surface anywhere between 3 to 12 months. By the time he/she is 3 years old, he will have a complete set of nice white teeth.
When and How They Develop
The first tooth that usually starts to pop out is the lower central incisor, which may be as early as 3 months old, and the last teeth to show themselves are usually the second molars, around about 2 years old.
Most of the time teething can be a really difficult time for both babies and parents alike. The early symptoms of teething, include Drooling, swollen red gums and a fair amount of pain. Most experts believe that teething doesn’t cause illness, although some mothers say that their babies suffer from fevers or diarrhea, but is more likely that they have caught a bug at the same time.
Caring for your baby’s teeth
Now that your baby a set of set it is up to you to ensure that they keep clean. For the first year, you won’t really need to brush the teeth, but it is important to keep them clean, so it may be a good idea to give them a wipe with a gauze once a day, perhaps at bedtime.
At about 18 months will be a good time to start using a toothbrush on your baby’s teeth. You will have to do this for him for the first few times, not only so that they can learn how to brush their teeth correctly, but also because they probably won’t have the concentration and dexterity to brush them themselves.
If your baby doesn’t like the taste of the toothpaste, you can either try another brand or just skip the toothpaste all together. Unless your baby is having a lot of sugar in his/her diet, you won’t really need toothpaste yet.
When your baby turns 3, you should make an appointment with a pediatric dentist.
How can I help relieve the pain?
- Gently massage the gums with one finger
- Give her something cold to chew on, such as a plumb, or gel-filled teething ring, or a cold washcloth. If you are using a teething ring, be sure to take it out of the freezer before it gets rock hard!
- Dab the gums with an over the counter anesthetic product, such as Orajel.