First Teeth Basics
When can you expect your baby's first teeth? Most babies get their first teeth between the ages of three and seven months old, although it is possible to get them earlier or even later than seven months. Teeth actually start to develop before birth as tooth buds form in the gums, but your baby's teeth will start to break through one at a time throughout the first two years, typically in this order: bottom two middle, top two middle, side, and then back teeth. The last teeth to appear will be your baby's molars, which come in around two years old. By three your baby will have a full set of 20 baby teeth.
The symptoms that suggest your baby is cutting a tooth may include drooling, gum sensitivity, fussiness, and possible waking at night. Although it was once thought that babies who were teething could develop a fever or diarrhea as a direct result, this is no longer thought to be the case. Based on a recent study of 47 babies, there's no link between these types of serious symptoms around the time of a tooth eruption. As a result of the findings, researchers stress the importance of contacting a pediatrician if your baby experiences a fever or diarrhea, regardless of whether he is teething or not.
Unfortunately, teething can be uncomfortable for your baby, but a few of the following relief options may help ease the pain:
Frozen washcloth. Freeze a wet washcloth and let your baby chew on it. The cold will feel good on irritated gums.
Cold foods. If your baby is already eating solids, feed him/her cold foods such as frozen yogurt or frozen fruit bars. (Cut into small bits depending on where your baby is at in the solid food exposure process.)
Pressure. Rub your baby's gum firmly with a clean finger for about five minutes -- the pressure will relieve some of the discomfort.
Infant pain relievers. Consult your pediatrician if your child is experiencing excessive discomfort. He or she may prescribe an infant pain reliever such as acetaminophen.
Good dental health matters right from the very start and cleaning your baby's teeth is simple. Just wipe the teeth with a damp washcloth once a day. It is fine to use a soft bristled baby toothbrush if you prefer but do not use toothpaste for the first year. After that you may begin to use training toothpaste appropriate for your child's age. Check with your pediatrician about when to make your baby's first dentist appointment -- most recommend one around age three but may suggest even sooner.
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