Your Baby's First Tooth: What to Expect

a teething baby is taking a bath with first tooth erupted

Do you see a white bud that could be your baby's first tooth? Your little angel will begin teething between four and six months of age. This is an exciting milestone, but sometimes it can turn your little one's smile upside down, as erupting teeth can be uncomfortable. This rite of passage is a time to collect tips on teething and begin thinking about your child's dental care.

Baby's First Tooth

Even when your baby's mouth is all gums, it's not too early to start planning their dental care. At bath time, try wrapping your finger in a clean, wet washcloth or a cotton gauze square and gently rub your child's gums. This can stimulate the gums and get you both in the habit of daily oral cleaning. You may find that your child begins drooling and mouthing everything in sight. Keep a damp cloth available to wipe his/her chin to prevent irritation or a rash from forming. Having your child wear a small bib will keep his/her clothing dry too. Before long, you will begin to see the baby's first tooth, usually beginning with the lower front pair. Teeth tend to come in sets of two, so look for another pair on top next.

How to Tame the Teething Soreness

The initial clue that teeth are on the way may be changes in your baby's behavior, such as fussiness or sleeplessness. The teething process usually lasts from six months to three years of age, with the first teeth eruptions being the worse. It's possible that babies just get used to what teething feels like after the first teeth arrive. One of the best things parents can do is give their teething child something safe to chew on. Refrigerated teething rings are helpful, as the cool temperature relieves discomfort. Even a cold washcloth can be used to rub over the gums.

If these home remedies don't help your child and he begins to run a slight temperature, check with your paediatrician about giving your child infant-strength analgesics or pain killers.

With Teeth Come Table Foods

As teeth begin to erupt, a baby's first food can be introduced. Up until then, most babies are nursing or given formula with maybe a little rice cereal mixed in. Cold or chilled foods can be offered, like unsweetened apple sauce, yoghurt or prepared baby foods to help alleviate teething discomfort. Strained foods come next. As he/she begins to get teeth, your child may be comfortable experimenting with new textures in foods. Begin serving him/her tiny bites of soft foods, such as unsalted mashed potatoes, bananas, oatmeal, macaroni, and well-cooked vegetables (carrots, peas and sweet potatoes). For protein, cut food into small, tiny pieces so they can pick it up with their hands – think chicken, small bites of hard-boiled eggs and moist pork. Choose your baby's first food carefully, picking ones that are easy to handle and don't present a choking hazard.

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.

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