Your baby’s firsts are an exciting time, but there’s a particular first you should look out for: their primary teeth. We’re firm believers that excellent oral health begins while they’re still babies, as it sets the foundation for their adult teeth to thrive. Your child’s first dental appointment could happen well before they get out of diapers, often six months or less after their first tooth arrives.
However, while it might be a cause for celebration, the actual process of having their teeth set in isn’t as fun as it sounds, especially for your baby. If you’re a first-time parent or someone who deals with very young children, you’d probably experienced the fussiness and discomfort that comes with the first tooth. But don’t despair—here are a few tips that can help you and your child keep the peace during these trying times.
When their first teeth come out, do this
The experience is usually different for all children, but typically your baby should show signs of teething between 4-7 or 5-8 months. Some children get their teeth in much later, while others may already have them once born. These natal teeth get their name from when they form— they develop under the gums while your child is in the womb.
Once your child begins to teethe, that’s a sign to start up their dental hygiene routine. The first step starts with the doctor’s visit: aside from looking at your baby’s other vital signs, your pediatrician can check the gums and growing teeth for any signs of decay or disease. If there is, they might be referred to a dentist to have them checked and fixed. If not, this screening can continue until your child is three years old.
Some things you could do to keep their teeth and gums clean is to massage their gums with a clean finger and wiping them with a soft, moist cloth after eating and before sleepy time.
What if my child has teething pain?
Pain is, unfortunately, something that always comes with the teething process, but there are ways to keep it on the down-low. As long as your child doesn’t show abnormal symptoms (high fever, diarrhea, or congestion), the best thing to do is to wait it out until all their teeth set in. In the meantime, here are some things you could do to make the process a little easier for your baby:
- Give them something cold to suck on. Whether it’s a teething ring or a pacifier, applying something cold onto the affected area usually is a great soother for babies. Just make sure they aren’t frozen, as it could hurt your child.
- Get some painkillers. You can ask your local pharmacy for some kid-friendly painkillers to help ease the discomfort. Just don’t put aspirin on your baby’s gums – it could burn them.
- Let them chew. Chewing is also a great way to take off some of that teething pain, so it’s okay to let your baby chew on whatever they want. Just make sure the items are safe and clean.