Kids teeth start forming during pregnancy so it’s important very early in life to lay the foundations for a healthy oral routine.
DID YOU KNOW
Teeth are not only used for chewing food so that it can be digested easily, they guide the growth of facial bones and ensure their permanent adult teeth come through in the correct position and alignment.
Baby teeth are also a vital element for children sounding out words as they learn to talk.
All kids are different, their shape, their environment, and their eating habits. So naturally they will get teeth at different times.
Teeth appear in some children as early as three months, usually the first teeth appear between 6 and 10 months.
In others, they don’t arrive until around 12 months.
Baby teeth can arrive in any order, although the central bottom teeth are often first. All the baby teeth will usually arrive by the time your child’s three years old.
The 32 adult teeth replace the baby teeth between the ages of 6 and 20 years. The adult teeth don’t get replaced – so look after them.
SIGNS OF TEETHING
- cry a lot or seem extra cranky
- don’t feed as well as usual
- suck on objects such as toys, dummies and bibs
- have more dirty nappies more often
- pull the ear on the same side as the tooth coming through.
There’s debate as to whether these signs are caused by teething. They may just be a normal part of development or a result of minor infections and illnesses.
TIPS TO SOOTHE TEETHING
Tip #1 Anything Cold or From the Freezer May Help
A wet washcloth is ideal because babies like the rough texture and the cold water eases swelling in the gums. Other cool items include refrigerated teething rings, rusks, or chilled vegetables that can be gummed without falling apart and causing choking
Tip # 2 Numbing Gums: Natural or Drugstore Finds
You can buy numbing gels at the pharmacy, But you have to be careful to use only a tiny amount, and some babies don't like the feeling of having numb places in their mouths.
Tip # 3 Help Infants Calm Down and De-Stress
Try soothing your baby with soft music, talking or massage. You can give infants cool, weak chamomile tea, which may help them to sleep while cooling the mouth. Have some yourself, for a little break.
Tip # 4 Fighting the Pain and Discomfort of Teething
Some parents give their children/ baby doses of Baby Panadol or Nurofen to ease the pain, especially at night if the baby has trouble sleeping
THE USE OF A DUMMY OR PACIFIER
Love them or hate them, Parents have used dummies / pacifiers / comforters or soothers for centuries
As the names suggest, parents use them to calm and settle babies and, sometimes, toddlers too.
Babies are soothed by the action of sucking. As children get older they tend to find other ways to soothe themselves, and the need for sucking decreases.
The longer your baby uses a dummy, the more likely it is to change the way their teeth grow. This can result in a crossbite or overbite, where the top and bottom teeth don't meet properly. You may notice this if your child uses his dummy beyond two years or three years old. The more damaging effects are usually seen in children who have used a dummy for 4 years or more.
Long-term dummy use may also lead to:
- Incorrect positioning of teeth – upper teeth may be pushed more forward than normal. This can change the way the teeth meet when the child bites.
- Mouth breathing – your child may tend to breathe through their mouth rather than their nose. This is often linked to long-term dribbling.
- Speech and language problems – having a dummy in the mouth may not give children the opportunity to explore the full range of tongue movements to make all the speech sounds and they may have fewer opportunities to use sounds to communicate with a dummy in their mouth.
Usually, you can reverse the effects of thumb-sucking up to the age of 5-6 years. This is because children usually still have their baby teeth.
If children are still sucking after this age, dental problems can arise.
Vigorous finger-sucking ( which is when you can hear a popping sound when a child takes their thumb or fingers out of their mouth) or even prolonged sucking can affect the growth of a child’s jaws and alignment of their teeth.
If you’re concerned about your child’s sucking habits, talk to your dentist.