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Brushing Baby’s Teeth – Hannah at 9 months

Didn’t I just give birth to a tiny newborn yesterday?

Hannah mastered crawling just a few months ago and now she is standing on her own and racing around the house with her walker. And she’s getting into EVERYTHING. Is it bad parenting that I let her get in to the storage container drawer and play with the lids and containers, just so I can prep for dinner? It keeps her occupied and entertained more than her toys!

And she now has a toothy grin. How did she get so many teeth so quickly?  Didn’t we JUST bring her home from the hospital in a newborn sleep suit?  She has five and a half teeth; one is about to break through the gums and two more want to surface! Trying to brush her teeth is a battle. She won’t let mummy or daddy brush them for her. She keeps her mouth clenched shut, bats the toothbrush from our hands and screams her head off. But if we make it a game and allow her to play with the toothbrush, a few strokes will happen here and there. That’s much better than having a baby scream bloody murder because I want her to maintain proper dental hygiene! At this point in her non-stop, mobile life, I’ll take whatever I can get!

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Written by: First Time Mum

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Teething Symptoms

For many babies the teething experience can be extremely painful. Given that the teething process involves the movement of teeth through gums on a newly developed jawbone, it is likely that your baby will experience some discomfort at some stage of the teething process. The following symptoms are amongst the most common:

  • A slightly raised temperature – use a baby thermometer to check your baby’s temperature is not at fever levels of 38°c or above.
  • Excessive dribble – dribbling is a common symptom of teething as the gums produce extra saliva to provide lubrication for teeth coming through.
  • Facial rash – as a consequence of excessive dribbling, facial rashes are common during teething, especially around the chin and mouth.
  • Sore, reddened gums – as teeth come through the gums, babies will rub them to relieve the pain. Small blisters may appear and there may even be some light bleeding.
  • Irritability – the pain of teething will turn your bundle of joy irritable, grumpy and restless. Disturbed sleep is common – for baby and parents!
  • Poor appetite – the pain and discomfort of teething will put your baby off food for a while. Be sure they get plenty of fluids and encourage them with treats like sugar free ice lollies
  • Chewing – chewing helps baby ease the pain of teething.

While the above symptoms are very normal, you should also watch out for the following symptoms, which may be a sign of a more serious problem.

  • Vomiting and diarrhea – while this may be a natural side effect of excessive dribbling, it may be a sign of a stomach infection and if persistent vomiting occurs, you should consult your doctor.
  • Fever – A temperature of 38°c or above indicates fever. While a slight rise in temperature is normal during teething, fever is likely the symptom of another condition and you should contact our doctor.
  • Earache – this may be due to the development of baby’s jawbone, but it could be a sign of an ear infection. If it is persistent, worsens and effects hearing, consult your doctor.
  • Coughing – common during teething, coughing is caused by excess dribble and mucus running down baby’s throat and irritating the throat and chest. If the cough is persistent and accompanied by other symptoms such as high temperature, you should contact your doctor.
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Teething – Teethers, Teether Toys and Pacifiers

Here’s a quick round up of some things you could try with your little one…

 

Dummies

Sometimes sucking can be painful when teething as blood rushes to swollen areas making them even more painful, but some babies do find chewing on a soft teat comforting

 

Teethers

Teething babies want to get their little mouths chomping on just about everything. From traditional keyring teether rattles to baby-friendly jewellery, there’s a vast array of teethers available to soothe both baby and parents angst!

 

Key product features to look out for:

  • Textured surfaces to massage gums
  • Hard & soft surfaces for chewing on
  • Channel for holding teething gels
  • Water-filled chamber can be cooled in the fridge and used to soothe tender gums
  • Designs for different teething stages: first teeth, front molars then back molars
  • Easy for little hands to hold
  • BPA free, PVC and Phthalate-free
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Fridge vs freezer cooling recommendations
  • Ring lock designs to prevent parts falling off and becoming choking hazards

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Teether toys

There are many teething toys on the market, allowing baby to have access to these will be perfect for them to gnaw on, relieving pain and also will entertain and teach them at the same time.  Toys can feature different colours, sounds and movement such as rattles, beads, crinkles and mirrors. These all help distract baby from teething pains and help stimulate baby’s interest and development. Most teething toys shouldn’t be dunked in water to clean them, instead wipe down with a wet cloth.

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Teething – tips on how to cope

For baby, teething is not always an easy journey. When they first begin to get their first teeth, baby may not experience any problems at all but equally it can be a very painful process. Below you will find a few ideas to help baby alleviate the discomfort that he/she may be feeling:-

 

Hugs

Treat you and your little one to lots of hugs and cuddles. The physical bonding and one to one focused attention will make everyone feel better and less stressed.

 

Distraction

Keep them occupied with something fun to distract them from their teething pain. Sit with them to do something fun such as reading a favourite book or playing their favourite game. Or have a change of scenary: move around the house, garden or go out for a walk or drive can switch their focus away the pain in their gums.

 

Pressure – Teethers and massage

A new tooth pushing up through the gum can cause pressure and be painful. If you gently rub your clean finger along baby’s gums it will help relieve the pressure and improve circulation of blood in the gums. Small amounts of either olive oil or vanilla can gently numb the gums to relive pain.

Giving your baby a teether or teething toy to gnaw on will help relieve pain and can also entertain and teach them at the same time. There are many teethers available including rattles, colourful massaging teethers, water filled teethers or interactive teether toys. Baby toothbrushes work well too and get your baby used to having the brush in his mouth. Chewing on her pacifier, gum massager or sugar free biscuits or other foods helps too.

 

Coldness

Giving your baby something cold to place against their swollen and sore gums will help soothe the pain. Letting them drink cool water will help and you could try freezing a dummy, ice lolly, washcloth, bottle or food.

 

Medication and Homeopathic remedies

Sugar-free teething gels can often contain mild, local anaesthetics that can help alleviate pain and antiseptic ingredients that prevent infection. There are many homeopathic remedies available in tablet, liquid and gel formats. And there are many natural ways to help your baby, camomile tea is perfectly safe and will work great for your baby if they are feeling stressed. Just seep tea for a few minutes then once it has cooled down to room temperature put a couple of ounces in his bottle. Meltaway teething tablets, Camilia, Chamomilla, or Aconite drops help reduce swelling and relieve irritability.

If your baby is in pain or has a raised temperature, you may want to give them a painkilling medicine that has been specifically designed for children. These medicines contain a small dose of acetaminophen, paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease any discomfort. The medicine should also be sugar-free.

Check with your pharmacist or doctor before using a particular medication.

 

Reflexology

Your baby’s foot is divided into different zones. By appling gentle pressure to the toe area highlighted in purple, you will be able to sooth your baby’s teething pain.

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Preventing rashes

Babies drbble a lot more when teething. Give you little one a Zippy bib or change clothes when they are soaked. Make sure you regularly dry their face, especially their chin to prevent them from developing a rash. You may also find it helpful for your baby to sleep on an absorbent sheet.

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Baby teeth and when to expect them

For baby, teething is not always an easy journey. When they first begin to get their first teeth, baby may not experience any problems at all but equally it can be a very painful process. The first signs of teething can appear many months before the first tooth cuts through.

 

Between six and ten months is the most common age at which the first teeth start to cut through. As with many milestones, every baby is different. Not all babies teethe at the same time, some are born with teeth, whilst others don’t cut their first tooth until after their first birthday. Often though, girls’ teeth appear sooner than boys’ teeth.

 

The order that teeth appear pretty much stays the same for all babies though. As you see in the diagram below, the first teeth are usually the two central bottom incisors, followed by the top two, then the lateral incisors. Then it’s the first molars and the canines that arrive and finally the second molars appear. Your baby should have their full set of milk teeth above when they are two and a half years old.

 

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