For an infant, every stage of growing up is a new challenge. And teething can be one of the hardest of these challenges. The development of milk-teeth is a natural process. However, it is frequently rendered a painful and difficult time for the child.
The errors in the management and health of the infant before and during the first dentition can make a lot of difference. This is why parents need to be careful while their child is teething.
When do the milk-teeth appear?
The first set of teeth are also called milk-teeth. They are twenty in number. These teeth usually appear in pairs. Teeth in the lower jaw usually precede the corresponding ones of the upper jaw. The first milk-teeth generally appear about the sixth or seventh month. The last of the set may appear anytime between the twentieth to the thirtieth months.
Thus, the whole period of the first dentition may extend to a year and a half to two years. The process varies, however. Different babies may complete their first dentition at different pace and order of teeth appearance.
Symptoms of teething:
The appearance of milk-teeth is preceded and accompanied by several symptoms. You might notice an increased flow of saliva and swelling in the gums. Occasionally, there might be flushing of the cheeks. The child frequently thrusts its fingers or any other object within its grasp into its mouth. Its thirst is increased. Your child starts taking the breast more frequently but for shorter periods because the gums are tender and painful.
Your child may also become more fretful and restless. There might be a sudden fits of crying, starting from sleep, and a slight tendency to vomiting. Teething might also be accompanied by the looseness of the bowels.
These symptoms may precede the appearance of the tooth by several weeks. This is called “breeding the teeth.” In such cases, the symptoms disappear in a few days only to recur when the tooth approaches the surface of the gum.
How to help your child during teething:
If the child has a healthy constitution and has been fed on breast milk, the symptoms attending teething will be of the mildest kind. Such children won’t experience much discomfort during their first dentition. The management of such infants during teething is simple and easy.
However, if your child is experiencing problems, here’s what you can do:
- A healthy child has easier teething. So, make sure your child has plenty of fresh air, and is well exercised.
- The child should be breastfed often, but for a shorter duration. This will soothe the child’s thirst, keep the gums moist and relaxed, and soothe their irritation. Feeding for the shorter duration will prevent the child’s stomach from being overloaded.
- Since the child is being fed on mother’s milk, the mother should also be careful about her health and diet. Avoid all stimulant food or drinks.
- When the dentition begins, apply gentle pressure on the gums. It will comfort your child by dulling the pain. For this purpose, several things can be used, including coral, a piece of orris-root, scraped licorice root. A flat teething ring is preferable as it is safer. There is no danger of it being thrust into the child’s eyes or nose. You can gently rub the swollen gum with your finger too. It will comfort your child. Whatever you use, make sure it is clean.
Teething need not be a painful experience for your child and a stressful experience for you. With just a bit of care, you can help your baby have more comfortable teething.