Teething is part of your baby's development, and it can be one of the most painful parts of her first year. Most babies get their first teeth around 6 months, but they might come anytime between 3 and 12 months of age. According to pediatrician Lori Walsh, M.D. from Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago babies tend to become more oral at this age, constantly putting things in their mouths. It's a normal part of their development to start exploring different objects with their mouths. Some parent might mistake this for teething, but don't jump to conclusions just yet.
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You might notice your little one being extra cranky, not sleeping well at night, or running a fever. These are not necessarily signs of teething. He could be sick. Remember, kiddos are exposed to a variety of childhood illnesses at this age. Always talk to your pediatrician before giving him any medications for teething, just to be safe.
Around 6 to 12 months your baby's first teeth will start cutting through. Her first teeth are most commonly the two bottom front teeth. They will continue to come in sets of two. The cutting of new teeth can be painful for your baby so help soothe her by rubbing her gums with your finger.
Between 13 and 19 months your baby will start to get her first molars and canine teeth. The molars are the largest of her new teeth and tend to be the most painful.
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Before a tooth emerges, your baby is going to start drooling -- a lot. This may be attributed to the teething process, but it's also caused by this oral stage of development. This excessive drooling can cause an uncomfortable red rash on his chin. To prevent this, pat his chin with a luke warm washcloth or towel throughout the day. Pediatricians also recommend putting petroleum jelly on his chin to help ease the rash.
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All people have their own remedies for teething, and there are a lot of simple things in your home that can help Baby feel more comfortable. Dr. Walsh suggests trying a cold or frozen washcloth that baby can chew on. Also messaging his gums can help ease the pain.
If you still feel Baby is in a lot of pain, a infant version of benzocaine topical is one option, but it needs to be used sparingly. It numbs your baby's gums, but Dr. Walsh warns that you not use it excessively more than a few times a day because it could numb the back of her throat. For infants over 6 months of age, an appropriate amount of acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used as needed for pain. Remember to always consult your pediatrician before giving her any medication.
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Pacifiers & Baby Bottles
Parents are often misinformed about this point but it's okay to give your baby a pacifier or bottle during teething if it is one of her soothers. The truth is that baby bottles and pacifiers don't harm Baby's teeth, but what you put in the bottle can. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommending putting your baby in their crib with a bottle. They also recommend only giving your child bottles during meals this will prevent the liquids from sitting in their month and causing tooth decay. If your infant is getting fussy between feedings, give her a clean pacifier to suck and chew on instead.
Next Step: Cleaning Baby's New Teeth
Once his new teeth have arrived, just like adult teeth, baby teeth are susceptible to plaque buildup, leading to discoloration. Don't use toothpaste on your child's teeth until she is old enough to spit -- around age 2 or 3. Until then, brush her teeth with a small, soft toothbrush and water. You can also use your finger to brush her teeth.
It's normal for baby teeth to be an ivory color, but they can become more discolored for many reasons. These are some causes, according to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota: inadequate brushing, medication use, tooth or gum injury, weak enamel, excessive fluoride, newborn jaundice, or serious illness. The most common of these is inadequate brushing, which can be prevented by starting to clean his teeth at an early age.
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