What is teething?
Teething is simply the arrival of the baby (milk or deciduous) teeth through your baby's gums. I say simply but for many babies it is not simple and they really suffer as a result. It usually starts when your baby is between 6 to 10 months and continues until the age of 3 years when all the 20 baby teeth have come through. However some babies teeth from as young as three months. In fact 1 in 2000 babies are actually born with teeth!
Teething is different for each baby. For some babies teething is painless, others may be irritable for a short time and some may have a tough time for weeks or even months.
Why teething is uncomfortable?
Teething is uncomfortable because there is a lot of movement and change in the jawbone as the teeth move into the gum. That's why you can often see signs of teething long before the pearly whites break through. This should stop as soon as the tooth appears. The molars (back teeth) can be especially uncomfortable because they are larger teeth.
Signs and symptoms of teething
The common signs and symptoms of teething that you may notice in your baby are:
- · being bad tempered or irritable
- · crying more than usual
- · having trouble sleeping
- · having problems feeding, changing what they want to eat or not wanting to eat
- · wanting to chew on things e.g. toys, fingers, or a GUMIGEM! etc
- · drooling or being more dribbly than usual
- · having swollen gums
- · having red, hot cheeks
- · pain
However there are a whole host of symptoms that many feel are also associated with teething:
- Runny nose
- Nappy rash
Cool to drool! Few babies go through teething without some level of drool! Some however can be like Niagra Falls and a bib an essential to prevent changing tops every five minutes! Try and keep the chin and neck dry by using a soft dry cloth to wipe, but don't rub as their skin can be sore, some develop quite a nasty rash. It may help to use a barrier cream for particularly dribbly babies.
Teething does not make your baby ill
However it has been proven that teething doesn't make a baby unwell. The signs and symptoms that you may notice occur partly because teething begins at the same time that your baby’s immune system is changing. At this time many babies will have lost most of their protective antibodies passed from their mothers. This can make them more susceptible to infections and illness until their own antibodies increase.
Health problems not likely to be caused by teething include:
- · waking a lot at night
- · being restless and irritable in the daytime
- · infections
- · a temperature (fever)
If your baby seems unwell, seek medical advice.