By the time my baby James was 6 months old, life had finally calmed down at my house. The fussiness and crying had stopped, and he seemed content to play on his own. Bathrooms were clean again. Beds were made. Life was easier.
My bliss was short-lived. At 7 months, James began fussing anew. This time, his drool quickly got out of control and everything became a chew toy. Yep, my baby was teething.
The teething process can be tough. You don’t know how to soothe your baby, and the wealth of information is overwhelming. But pediatric dentist Dr. Michael Blen offers some helpful advice.
When will my baby get her first tooth?
The first tooth usually erupts at about 6 months of age.
Is it painful? How can I help?
Each child handles teething differently. Symptoms such as a slight fever, gastric reflux, tender gums, and extra drooling can all accompany teething. To bring relief, try infant acetaminophen, infant numbing topical gel, a cold teething ring, or cold washcloth.
How should I care for new teeth?
Even before the first tooth erupts, massage baby’s gums with a wet washcloth. Once teeth do come in, fluoride-free toothpaste on a soft bristled toothbrush is best.
Can thumb-sucking, pacifiers, or bottles at bedtime harm baby’s new teeth?
Sucking activities are normal for babies, but thumb-sucking and pacifiers habits should be discouraged later, as these can lead to bite problems.
Never put baby to bed with a bottle. Once your child has finished her bedtime feeding, clean the teeth. Early childhood decay is a real problem; bottles to bed and middle-of-the-night nursing contribute to tooth decay.
When should we begin seeing a dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the first visit by the first birthday. Infant oral health exams are important. Be sure to find a dentist to care for your child.