Teething is one of the great mysteries for many new parents. As soon as you become accustomed to new sleeping patterns, breastfeeding (confidently), enjoying outings with your new bundle and the beautiful yet daunting responsibility of parenting itself, the topic of teething creeps into the picture and throws everything off kilter.
When to expect those first teeth?
Did you know that the age at which a baby’s teeth peek through the gums is entirely genetic? Some babies are even born with teeth! In most babies, however, teeth appear between 5-10 months of age, and usually it’s the bottom front two teeth you’ll spot first. Some teeth emerge much earlier, and some much later – there is a wide range of normal. Our Teeth Development Chart is a great resource to guide you through when you may expect your baby’s teeth.
So how do you know your baby really IS teething?
Unfortunately, the only real way of knowing whether your baby is teething, is by spotting that little pearly white. This is often accompanied by bright red cheeks, bumpy gums, an increase in drooling (which can lead to chin rashes), irritability at night, broken sleep, and even nappy rash. This is also the age at which babies may experience other not so enjoyable phases like separation anxiety (which can creep in at around 8 months of age). All of this can make it very difficult to know for sure whether it’s teething or something else that’s upsetting your child.
How to help your baby?
As adults, we know that toothache is painful – and it is often painful for our babies too. Just as we like to hold, push on or bring our focus to a painful part of our body, our babies like to do the same. Before you grab the pain syrup, we recommend you rub your baby’s gums with a drop of Pure Beginnings Soothing Teething Gel. The liquorice root extract helps to heal and soothe the gums, while the natural anti-inflammatory properties of the marshmallow extract relieve the pain and discomfort. The inclusion of xylitol also inhibits the growth of bacteria that can lead to tooth decay. Using this organic teething product eliminates the worry caused by using other, potentially harmful remedies.
You can also allow your baby to gnaw or suck on a piece of chilled food like a whole carrot or a long piece of cucumber. The cold eases the pain, and these foods are easy for your baby to hold.
Feeding your baby cold foods like yoghurt, apple puree and mashed up veggies can also soothe the ache.
You can also place a clean, wet, squished up face cloth in the freezer, and once frozen, allow your baby to grip and chew on it. It will soften over time but you can wash it and pop it back in the freezer to use again. If the constant waking up at night leads to some retail therapy, very popular are the silicone baby necklaces (for mom to wear, and baby to chew on), teething toothbrushes and a large choice of chewy teething toys. Always opt for good quality silicone and avoid plastic.
When to begin dental hygiene?
The best time to start is shortly after your baby has been born. Because milk, food and occasionally dirt enter the mouth, it is recommended to wipe the gums clean every day with a soft, warm cloth. As soon as those tiny teeth appear it’s time to start brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush and a natural toothpaste. Babies who have their gums wiped regularly take to brushing much easier later.
Remember, babies and small children won’t know how to ‘rinse and spit’, so it is very important that you brush their teeth with a soft-bristled brush and use a safe, fluoride-free toothpaste. Pure Beginnings’ gentle, fluoride-free Berry Toothpaste is perfect for babies and toddlers from birth to 3 years old, and is safe for your child to swallow. So, make teeth-brushing fun – sing your ABC’s while you brush your child’s teeth, have a dance party in the bathroom, and enjoy this new chapter in your baby’s development.