Baby’s Teeth

Teeth first erupt in a baby’s mouth at 6 months. It is important to clean and lightly massage the gums in a newborn. This not only cleanses the oral cavity but also establishes a daily routine of good oral hygiene making the transition to the toothbrush much easier. The gums should be wiped with wet gauze twice a day. Wrap a fresh piece of gauze around the index finger, moisten it with some warm water and gently rub it along the gums. When the first teeth show in the mouth continue to “polish” the teeth until they have fully erupted.

A children’s toothbrush with a soft nylon bristle should be used to lightly brush the tops and the sides of both upper and lower teeth. It is recommended that the tongue is also softly brushed, if possible. Toddlers are more independent and sometimes fuss over getting their teeth brushed.

  • Try a different brand of toothpaste or no toothpaste at all.
  • Buy a toothbrush with a cartoon character that they like.
  • Buy two identical toothbrushes and let them “brush” their own teeth while “helping” them with the other toothbrush.

Teething usually starts with a small bump visible in the mouth, and depending on the individual child is a very smooth and relatively painless process to an extremely painful experience.

Some of the symptoms are as follows:

  • Drooling.
  • Irritability and crying.
  • Biting and chewing.
  • Fever.
  • Difficulty sleeping.

This can be a trying period for both parent and child. A lot of comforting is required to sooth the baby. Chilled foods will help ease the pain of the irritated gums. The baby may want to gnaw on something. A cold teething ring, or a cold celery stick can help considerably (avoid carrots or cucumbers as these break off and create choking hazards). As a last resort try some numbing gel or painkillers.

Nursing bottle cavities are unfortunately seen far more frequently than they should be. This occurs when milk or juice is used in the baby bottle as a pacifier to soothe the child to sleep. Bacteria combine with the natural sugars present in the milk to form acids that attack the tooth enamel. The subsequent damage is extensive as it affects all the teeth. The only way to prevent this is to avoid putting the child down to sleep with any milk, or juice in a bottle, instead give the child some warm water. Good oral hygiene habits formed in the very early stages of life will help the child maintain healthy teeth for a lifetime.