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Teething can be a difficult time for babies and parents alike. This article will help you understand what to expect along with simple remedies which can be used to help provide relief for teething symptoms.
There is no fixed timeline for when new teeth will start nor what symptoms will come with them, but this guide will provide you will all the information you need to get through it as well as care for teeth once they arrive.
Jump to a section:
+ When do babies start teething?
+ What are the symptoms of baby teething?
+ What teething remedies are there?
+ Things to avoid
+ How to care for new baby teeth
+ When to go to the dentist
+ Places to get help
Typically children start teething / getting their first teeth between 4 to 10 months old, with the most common age being 6 months. Keep in mind that all children are different so the exact timing can vary.
So how long does it last? This can also vary between children, but typically kids will have all of their first teeth (10 in each jaw) by 2 to 3 years old.
There are a number of symptoms associated with teething, however keep in mind that your child will not necessarily experience them all.
Be very mindful that you should be sure not to confuse some of the following symptoms for illness such as viral or middle ear infections. It's always best to consult a medical professional to be sure.
Aside from symptoms directly related to new teeth erupting, it's common that the level of antibodies passed on from mother to child will start to fall causing a change in the immune system. This change combined with the (increased) tendency for bub to place things in the mouth means increased susceptibility to illness.
Teething symptoms may include:
+ Crying more than usual
+ Crankiness and restless
+ Disturbed sleep
+ Red, swollen gums
+ Flushed cheeks
+ Not feeding well
+ Sucking on everything
+ More dirty napies
+ Slight temperature
+ Pulling on ear
+ Increased drooling
You do not need medication and drugs to help relieve teething discomfort. Try the following tips:
+ Teether toys are hlpeful as a firm item to chew and suck on. Keep in mind that your choice should be AS/NZS ISO 8124 toy safety certified to avoid the risk of choking and toxicity.
+ A cold chilled teether or facecloth can provide extra relief. Silicone teethers are easy because they can be placed in the fridge/freezer.
+ Baltic amber is a remedy dating back to the time of ancient Greece which is growing even more popular in recent times. It is available in necklace
+ For older children, try softer foods so they won't need to chew as much.
As much as there a list of things you can do, there is also a number of things that you should avoid to ensure safety and maintain healthy teeth;
+ Teething gels are simply not safe and should be avoided due to their key ingredients being toxic to ingest and linked to a rare but potentially fatal illness. For example; the UK banned Bonjela's active ingredient Salicylate, however it is still used in the version sold in Australia. The maker switched the active ingredient in the UK to Lignocaine, however this switch cannot be made here due to it also being banned in Australia.
+ Asprin is also not recommended for children under the age of 16 years old because of the risk of a rare but potentially fatal illness caused Reye's Syndrome due to the ingredient Salicylate, which is why teething gel's with the same ingredient are banned in countries such as the UK.
+ Ibuprofen is more likely to cause adverse reactions when compard to paracetamol.
+ Homepathic teething tablets should be avoided due to being linked to baby deaths.
+ Avoid letting your child go to sleep with a bottle, as studies have shown this increases the risk of tooth decay.
+ Start 'brushing' gums before new teeth arrive. Simply use a clean damp cloth or gauze with plain water to wipe over gums a few times each day.
+ When the first tooth arrives; start a routine to brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush and plain water.
+ At 18 months; start using infant toothpaste with the right level of flouride. Check the age on the packaging to match. Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste and not to swallow or rinse.
+ At two and a half years; start flossing between your child's teeth.
+ At four to five years old; start encouraging your child to brush their own teeth. Be sure to monitor their efforts though to ensure a good brush twice a day.
+ At six years old; switch to an adult toothpaste for increased flouride. Your child should still not rinse, but at this age can start learning to floss their own teeth.
+ At eight years old; your child should now be able to brush and floss properly unsupervised.
+ A good time to see a dentist for the first time is when your child's first tooth erupts or at 12 months old, which ever comes first.
+ Always see a dentist at the first sign of decay or any gum issues, so as not to allow any problems to worsen.
+ Other than treating any issues, dentists can also provide helpful advise for brushing, child nutrition, and techniques to prevent problems through injury or habits like thumb sucking.
+ Be sure to always make seeing the dentist a positive experience so there are no negative associations which can be an issue in the future.
+ Dentists in your area.
+ Doctors can also help to diagnose if symptoms are the result of dental issues or other illness.
+ Check your local council for preschool dental programs and other local services.
+ Call the government-funded service Health Direct on 1800 022 222 or visit their website here: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/