Baby teething can be a frustrating time for both the parents and the child. But it is a completely natural process and poses no danger to the baby. The first baby teeth to emerge are usually the two front teeth on the bottom gum, known as the central incisors. These will normally start to erupt between the ages of 4 to 7 months. Some babies will start teething earlier.
Symptoms that your baby is teething
Swollen or inflamed gums – regularly inspect your child’s gums. You should be able to see the actual outline of the teeth before they erupt through the gums. Pay special attention to the lower, middle gums as this is where the first teeth are likely to appear.
Crankiness – if your child’s mood suddenly takes a turn for the worse, inspect his mouth. Of course this change of behavior could be due to something else but there’s no harm in checking.
When teething begins, your baby may have swollen gums or even bruised, where a tooth is about to break through. As the teeth are growing, the cells in the gum tissue above the tooth begin to break down, which helps the tooth slide through. In rare cases, some blood may be spotted when the tooth erupts.
Another symptom of infant teething problems is sleeplessness, as babies have difficulty to sleep due to the pain. Some babies become more fussy and irritable at night, when the lack of other distractions may make the pain more noticeable.
To determine if your baby is teething, ask yourself a few questions. Does she appear to be fussier? Is she crying at night? Does she cling to you? Is she dribbling or drooling in excessive amounts? Is she chewing on her fingers or objects?
Are her gums red, swollen or inflamed? Does she demand more breast or bottle feeding? On the other hand, does she reject breast or bottle feeding because you think the sucking is hurting her gums?
The biggest study, with the greatest power, showed associations with biting behaviour, drooling, gum rubbing, irritability, sucking, wakefulness, reduced appetite, and temperature more than one standard deviation above normal. All associations were significant (P=0.01 or less) and for fever above 38.3°C (P=0.001). Altogether 35% of infants had one or more of these symptoms in the period around tooth eruption in comparison with background rates for symptoms on non-teething days in the range of 6-20%.
Sometimes you can actually see the tooth cutting through the gum, or you may be able to feel it emerging if you run a clean finger along your baby’s gum line. Another good indicator that your baby is teething is that they will want to chew… on anything. It could be toys, fingers or food! This is a completely natural reaction to the changes that are going on within the gum and it is thought that chewing on something hard feels quite soothing.
# Irritability or restlessness
# Increased night-time awakening
# Appetite decreased
Red swollen gums, lots of drool, a change in sleeping patterns and feeding habits can all signal a tooth before it is visible. Some mums say their baby becomes cranky, runs a temperature, has unexplained diarrhoea or develops a rash around their little mouth.