The Whole Tooth

Watch out for...

Are there any remedies to stay away from?

"A lot of parents ask me if rubbing whiskey on their baby's gums will help," says Dr. Beauchamp. "I'm sure their mother or grandmother did this, but it really isn't advisable." Another popular remedy is homeopathic teething tablets. However, last October the FDA issued a consumer-safety alert for a popular brand, Hyland's, because the tablets contained inconsistent amounts of one of the active ingredients, an herb called belladonna. Although homeopathic products typically hold only minute amounts of their active ingredients, in large doses belladonna can cause hallucinations, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, and other problems. Hyland's released a voluntary recall of the tablets and as of press time was addressing the concerns and planning to release a new version with child-resistant packaging in early 2011.

Are there any health consequences if a child gets teeth late?

Teeth or no teeth, he should be able to take in all the nutrition he needs, even if that means eating softer, easier-to-chew foods, says John Liu, D.D.S., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and a pediatric dentist in Issaquah, Washington. "Every child's teeth have their own schedule, but it's natural for parents to worry," says Dr. Liu.

Can teeth ever come in too early?

"Rarely, a baby may have teeth at birth—but they won't have finished forming so they won't be very strong," says Dr. Liu. "We usually remove these teeth before the child leaves the hospital because they're irritating to a breastfeeding mom. Even more important, they tend to be floppy, and we worry that they could fall out and the baby might choke on one. These early teeth are easily removed with some topical anesthetic, a piece of gauze, and the pediatric dentist's fingers."

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