Everything You Need To Know & Expect When Your Baby's Teeth Arrive

Everything You Need To Know & Expect When Your Baby's Teeth Arrive

In a baby who is reasonably healthy, the age of teething is simply a matter of the pattern of development the child was born with. In one family most of the children teethe early, in another late. You can't decide your baby is extra bright for teething early, or generally backward for teething late. :

The average baby gets the first tooth around 7 months, but has been drooling, biting, and having periods of fretfulness from the age of 3 or 4 months. Since babies get twenty teeth in their first 2 1/2 years, it is easy to see that they are teething most of that whole period. This also explains why it's so easy to blame every ailment on teething.

In the olden days it was the custom to blame teething for colds, diarrheas, or fevers. These conditions are caused by germs and not by teething. However, in some babies it looks as though teething lowers resistance, making it easier for an infection to start at that time. But if your baby becomes sick while teething, or has a fever as high as 101¢XF, a doctor is needed to diagnose and treat the disease just as much as if the baby had gotten sick when not teething.

Usually the first two teeth are the lower central incisors.; ("Incisor" is the name given to the eight front teeth, which have sharp cutting edges.) After a few months come the four upper incisors. The average baby has these six teeth, four above, and two below, when about a year old. After this there's usually a pause of several months. Then six more teeth are apt to come in, without much pause in between the two remaining lower incisors, and all four first molars. The molars don't come in next to the incisor teeth but farther back, leaving a space for the canine teeth.

After the first molar tooth, there is a pause of several months before the canines (the pointed "dog teeth") come through in the spaces between the incisors and the molars. The average time is in the second half of the second year. The last four teeth in the baby set are the second molars. They come in right behind the first molars, usually in the first half of the third year.

The first four molar teeth, which in the average baby come through between a year and a year and a half, are more likely to cause babies trouble than the others. They may be cranky and lose their appetites for days at a time. They may wake up crying a number of times each night.

Let the baby chew. Sometimes parents think it's a duty to keep their baby from putting things in her mouth and chewing. This notion will surely drive the parents and the baby frantic in time. Most babies must put things in their mouths, off and on, at least from 6 months to 15 months. The best that a parent can do is provide chewable objects that are dull enough so that if the baby falls with them in the mouth they won't do too much damage.

Rubber teething rings of various shapes are good, but any piece of rubber that the baby can hold easily will do. You have to be careful about toys made from thin brittle plastic. Babies sometimes break off and swallow small bits or choke on them. You also have to be careful that the baby doesn't gnaw the paint off furniture and other objects if there is any danger that the paint is made with lead.

Nowadays practically all babies' furniture and painted toys are painted with lead-free paint. You have to think about objects that have been repainted at home or that were never expected to be chewed by babies. Some babies prefer a certain kind of cloth for chewing on. Or, you can tie an ice cube or a piece of apple in a square of cloth. Let them have what they seem to want as long as it's not dangerous.

You don't have to fret about the germs on a teething ring or a favorite piece of cloth. They are the baby's own germs, anyway. Of course, it's a good idea to wash the teething ring with soap after it has fallen on the floor or after the dog has gotten it. If the baby chews on a piece of cloth, you can boil it occasionally. Some babies love to have their gums firmly rubbed at times.