Teething trials

Teething trials
So that’s why your little one suddenly wants to chew everything in sight—her first tooth has come in! It’s the first step in the long journey to a full set of pearly whites.

So that’s why your little one suddenly wants to chew everything in sight—her first tooth has come in! It’s the first step in the long journey to a full set of pearly whites.

It wasn’t very long ago that little Claire, aged 10 months, got her first tooth. “It came in when Claire was eight and a half months old,” recalls her mom, Annie-Claude. “Her second tooth appeared a week later. And I can already feel another one coming in at the top.”

A baby’s first tooth usually appears around the age of six months. “That’s on average,” notes Dr. Thao Phan, a pediatric dentist. “Some babies get their first teeth at four months, others after a year. The two small bottom teeth are the first to erupt, followed by the two middle upper teeth.” Those on the sides come in gradually, and children usually have their full set of 20 baby teeth by around age three.

Easing teething pains

Teething can be uncomfortable, but it won’t make your child sick. “Parents report all kinds of symptoms,” says Dr. Phan, “but there’s no study that demonstrates a link between teething and issues such as diaper rash or fever.”

Did you know?
Even if your baby still has no teeth by the age of six months, it’s okay to begin introducing solid foods. “The gums are very strong,” says Dr. Phan. “They can’t cut, but they can mash soft foods without a problem.”

These symptoms could be the result of another health problem, such as a cold. However, one thing is certain: teething babies produce a lot of saliva and need something to chew on. “We give Claire a toy made specifically for teething pains,” says Annie-Claude. “And we have to keep an eye on her because she tries to put everything in her mouth. One time we found her chewing on a flipflop!”

To help ease teething pains, Dr. Phan recommends gently massaging your child’s gums with your finger (make sure to wash your hands first), using a face towel soaked in cold water, or trying a teething ring that’s been chilled in the fridge.

As a baby’s first set of teeth grows in, 32 permanent teeth are forming behind them in the gums. Children lose their first tooth around the age of six or seven to begin making room for the adult set. Baby teeth fall out in the same order in which they erupted, and adult teeth emerge gradually until about age 16.

Don’t mind the gap
It’s normal for there to be a lot of space between baby teeth. “That’s what dentists like to see,” says Dr. Phan. “It means there’ll be room for the adult teeth, which are bigger. Gaps also reduce the risk of cavities because it’s easier to brush the teeth from all sides.”

 

Naitre et grandir.com

SourceNaître et grandir magazine, January–February 2018
Research and copywriting: Julie Leduc
Scientific review: Solène Bourque, psychoeducator

 

Photo: Maxim Morin