First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby and a baby... tooth? Wait, what? Well, in our version, that's how it goes. It actually goes that way for all parents and babies. Teething is one of the first developmental steps in their lives. And for parents, to experience it with your baby as their first tooth makes an appearance — it's quite the milestone. But, as most parents know, there's usually some discomfort that tags along for your baby's first tooth eruption ride. Fear not. We've got the baby steps on what to do and what to expect below.
Your Baby's First Tooth: What To Expect
It takes a few months before teething actually begins for the little bundle of joy. While you may not think it's necessary, you can already care for their gums during that time. Not only will it keep them clean and healthy, but it also begins your oral care routine for your baby. A routine that will eventually transition to brushing, and then, ultimately, your child will take over in their late toddler/early elementary school days. So the sooner you practice, the sooner you perfect it, making for a happy and healthy smile.
Drooling more than usual is a good sign the teething process has begun. Typically the 3-9 month range is the timeframe you can expect your baby to get their first tooth. Damp burp cloths are good to have on hand to help avoid the irritation the excess drool can leave. Usually, the teeth come in pairs. Often it's the lower front teeth that pop up first. Eruption charts can help track all 20 of their baby teeth.
Besides the drool, there are many signs of teething. They include:
- Excess drooling
- Swollen gum tissue
- Repeatedly rubbing their face
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
The best at-home teething remedy to help get your child through the soreness and discomfort is distracting them. And that's usually through something they can put in their mouth. Chilled teething rings or cold washcloths have done the trick for parents around the world. If your baby is still fussy, connect with your pediatrician about an over-the-counter pain relief solution.
Breastmilk, formula, and perhaps some rice cereal have probably been the diet of your baby thus far. Well, now it's time to start experimenting with your baby a little more now that they have at least one chomper for chomping. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you begin giving your child more solid options around the 6-month mark. Foods like:
- Unsweetened cold foods during teething — applesauce, yogurt, and baby foods
- Strained foods — tiny bits of unsalted mashed potatoes, bananas, macaroni
- Small pieces of cooked veggies — carrots, peas, sweet potatoes
- Tiny bites of protein — chicken, pork, hard-boiled eggs
Make sure all the morsels are easy for them to eat with their hands and small and soft enough for them to get down to their little tummies. That's key, mom and dad.
So now you know what to expect when your baby's first tooth comes. If you're prepared with teething remedies and some simple, soft food, you're ahead of the game. Remember — good sense, instinct, and parental love are the best supplies you can stock up on.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.