The emergence of the first teeth is an exciting period for every parent, however it also involves a lot of worries, sleepless nights and anxiety.
Typically, first teeth appear between the 6th and the 10th month, but it may also happen earlier – about the 4th month. There are children who turn 12 months without having any teeth, but this is no reason for worry, especially if the child is healthy and has no accompanying illnesses. The aforementioned periods are just rough guidelines and vary since every child is unique. Typically, teeth appear symmetrically, in groups, first on the lower jaw and then on the upper jaw.
Regardless of when teeth appear – earlier, on time, or later – teeth complete their growth by the age of 3 years.
Symptoms accompanying teething appear days before the tooth is visible in the mouth and last a few days after it.
- Swollen and red gums. Teeth push against the gum which may cause inflammation and bleeding. The gum will be swollen and red where the tooth should appear. Rarely, a bluish bump appears, which actually is a haematoma due to the blood collected under the gum. Normally, it heals on its own without medical assistance, but if in doubt, visit the child’s dentist.
- Excessive drooling. The child often puts objects in its mouth and this stimulates drooling. You will notice saliva running down the chin and cheeks of the baby. Clean it regularly with a cotton cloth, because it may cause skin irritations and a rash.
- Chewing and sucking – on toys, fingers, hair, household objects, basically anything the little hands get to. This way the baby alleviates the discomfort caused by teething to some extend. Provide the little one with a suitable teether toy.
- Loss of appetite. A child that is already eating solid food may suddenly lose its interest in it. It is due to the discomfort in the delicate gums of the baby. Cool and soft foods may improve the symptoms. When the tooth comes out, the child will regain its appetite.
- Restless sleep. Teething pain may appear both during the day and night. The baby will fall asleep with difficulties, it will wake up more often, it will be more irritable and tired, which only worsens the symptoms.
- Increased body temperature. If there is an increased body temperature or other symptoms for more than 24 hours, call your doctor. This is most probably a teething issue.
- Rubbing of ears and cheeks. The child rubs the side where the tooth is growing. However, have in mind that this may be a symptom of an ear infection. If in doubt, contact a medical specialist.
- Coughing. First, chick if there is no other cause for this symptom, such as an infection or an allergy. Increased drooling may cause choking and coughing.
- Diarrhoea. It is believed that it is caused by the excessive drooling and swallowing of large quantities of microbes from the objects the child chews. Try to keep the objects within the child’s reach clean and sterilised. If the diarrhoea persists, you should visit a doctor.