Milk Teeth & Teething Tips
Milk teeth and why they are important
Baby teeth typically begin to form during the second trimester of pregnancy and each baby will have 20 teeth present in their jaw at birth, although first teeth most commonly erupt at around 6-12 months this will vary for each baby. Milk teeth can cause much discomfort to your little one only to fall out and be replaced by adult teeth in the years to come. However they are vitally important for a child's development and overall health.
Many parents believe milk teeth/ first teeth are a waste of time and cause more hassle then they are worth, however here is a list of reasons infants and toddlers need their first teeth to develop;
- Speech development
- Eating and chewing lots of new and nutritious foods
- They hold a space for adult teeth as the jaw develops and grows
Signs your baby is teething
- Excessive drooling- keep your babies mouth dry as this can cause a mild rash.
- Chewing on objects and putting their hands in their mouth to help relieve the pressure.
- Loss of appetite and not wanting to drink due to discomfort.
- Ear pulling- tooth pain can creep up into your ears and pulling may help relieve the pain of swollen gums.
- Crankiness and irritability
- Wanting to suckle more (my little one always wanted to breastfeed a lot more then usual and it was a classic sign she was teething).
- Rosie red cheeks
- Trouble sleeping at nap time and night time
Tips for helping to sooth teething infants & toddlers
We would do anything to take away our baby/ toddlers discomfort at any time, so here are some tips to help relieve their teething pain.
- Teething rings which can be cooled down in the fridge to help numb the gums.
- If you baby is older then 6 months then raw fruits and vegetables such as carrot sticks and sliced apple can help aid relief.
- Gently rubbing your babies gums with a clean finger can help relieve tooth discomfort.
- Extra breastfeeds (if you are breastfeeding) or using a dummy can help due to the suckling.
- Lots of cuddles and play time to help soothe and distract from the discomfort is always a bonus.
- Over the counter medicines such as calpol and ibuprofen can be used for teething pain and remedies recommended by your pharmacist/ doctor. Always check with a medical professional beforehand if you are unsure.
You can start to brush your babies teeth as soon as they begin to come through, using a baby toothbrush with soft bristles and a small dot of fluoride toothpaste for 1-3 year olds. You may not get much brushing done and baby may not like it for a while but its important to get them used to the feel of brushing their teeth and start with good habits.
Also its never too soon to get your little one registered with your dentist, that way the dentist can see your baby with you at your dental appointments and your baby will get used to it.
Most children will have a full set of 20 milk teeth by the time they are 3 years old. Here is a chart to depict the typical order of eruption: