Milk Teething

Teething is the phase during infancy and early childhood when children get their first set of teeth, known as primary teeth or milk teeth. Teething normally begins somewhere between the 6th and 8th months. The age at which an infant begins to get teeth may vary.

Sometimes infants are born with erupted teeth, but these are often abnormal and fall out.

Erupted teeth is the term used for the sequential appearance of milk as well as permanent teeth. New teeth erupt continually from age 6 months to 3 years. Between ages 6 and 12, children lose milk teeth, which are replaced with permanent teeth.

Tooth eruption occurs periodically until all 20 primary teeth are in place. This normally ends by the 30th month of life. These teeth include 4 incisors, 2 canines, and 4 molars in each jaw for a total of 20 teeth.

A few things that need to be kept in mind once your baby starts teething are:

What you can do:

  • In some cases, teeth come through without any problem, while in other cases, the gums may be red and sore. A child may be irritable, uncomfortable and may show one or more of the symptoms mentioned above. This discomfort may be eased by a cool object such as a frozen teething ring, an ice-cold wash-cloth or a cold apple. It can also be helpful to give the child something hard to chew like a teething ring or an unsweetened teething biscuit.
  • Rub the child’s gums with your finger. This is very comforting. Freeze a coarse washcloth and allow the child to chew it. These general measures can ease the pain of teething.
  • Avoid using any form of imported, fluid-filled teething rings, even if they are less expensive. The liquid inside may be contaminated.
  • Clean new teeth with a cotton swab and water if you notice any collection of tartar. Otherwise, wait until the child is 2 or 3 years old before brushing teeth regularly. By this age, children want to imitate parents by brushing their teeth.
  • Initially for a toddler, a whetted toothbrush is sufficient to brush the teeth. Once the child learns to rinse and spit, you can use fluoride toothpastes as they get incorporated into the tooth structure and make the teeth more resistant to dental decay.

What to avoid?
The gums should not be rubbed or cut to facilitate the eruption of teeth because this can result in infections. Teething powders and aspirin should also be avoided. Oral teething pain relievers that are rubbed on the infant’s gums are not of much help, since the excess saliva in the mouth quickly washes the medicine away.

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