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Lots of things you venture to complain about when your baby is tiny will elicit the same response from those who have been there before… “wait until he starts teething!” Is it any wonder that new parents dread the onset of the teething process? While it can be incredibly tough for some babies and toddlers to get those precious teeth, with some planning, you can be prepared for whatever they can throw at you.




When to Expect That First Tooth


We would love to tell you that your baby won’t have to deal with those first teeth breaking through for a while but the first teeth can arrive at any time. Some babies are born teething while others don’t seem in any hurry; while the average age for the first tooth is 6 months, it is not that unusual for some little ones to wait until 18months before teething. Every child is different!
Signs of Teething

Many parents want to know how to recognise the signs that teeth are on their way and some are surprised to find that the symptoms can be quite severe. Some babies have few symptoms and others seem to really suffer. Symptoms can include rejecting feeds, trouble sleeping, stuffy nose, red cheeks and ears, biting on the hands or toys, drooling and rashes on the chin and neck.

Easing the Symptoms

Teethers and soothers for the gums are widely available. Those that can be chilled in the fridge can give added relief to hot burning gums. Younger babies might not be able to hold teethers easily so choose shapes that will make it easier for them to handle. A clean finger applying gentle pressure to the gums can be just as good. Older children will appreciate cool fruit or ice to soothe the heat and discomfort. Homeopathic remedies, usually in powder or tincture form can work really effectively in helping your baby manage teething pain. Ibuprofen or paracetamol are both good for a fever and pain but be careful to buy age-appropriate liquid or check with your doctor for the best solution.

When to Worry

Teething can result in severe symptoms so it is hard to know when you should be concerned about your child’s symptoms. If the pain seems very extreme or if your child has a temperature that won’t come down, then it is best to get medical advice. If the child is turning down feeds frequently so that you begin to worry about dehydration or if they have any other symptoms that could signal something other than teething is going on such as diarrhoea or vomiting then even if only for your own reassurance it is best that you contact your doctor. If only babies could tell us what was wrong!

Caring for the New Teeth

Most children will have all 20 of their first teeth by the age of 3. Some are much quicker; some may take a little longer. Whenever your child gets those important first teeth it is essential that you get started with a good teeth hygiene routine. There are toothbrushes and toothpaste for even the tiniest of mouths and a visit to the dentist is always recommended once your little one’s first tooth pokes through. Establishing good dental practice now will stand your child in good stead for their adult life. Let your child see you brush your teeth as well and make it fun so that they make positive associations with brushing.

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