Teething Habits in Infants
When your sweet baby becomes unusually cranky and irritable, it could be because she's about to cut her first tooth. In rare cases, infants are born with one or two teeth, or cut a tooth in the first few weeks of life. Most children won't teethe until they are 4 to 7 months old. Teething can be uncomfortable for your little one, so do what you can to ease her pain. She'll reward you in a few days by showing a new pearly white when she smiles.
It can be difficult for new parents to tell whether their little one is teething or is just having a cranky day. Some of the common symptoms of teething include a low-grade fever, biting, drooling, sucking, difficulty sleeping, facial rash, ear rubbing and a decreased appetite. Your little one might cry for no reason and will want to be cuddled more than usual. Contact your pediatrician immediately if your baby develops a high fever or has diarrhea. Those are signs that something else is amiss.
Knowing the order in which teeth usually erupt might help you to determine whether your infant is cutting a tooth. Generally, the bottom two front teeth or central incisors are first to erupt followed by the top four front teeth or lateral and central incisors. Next, your tot will sprout a tooth on either side of the bottom pair followed by molars in the back. The last to erupt are the sharp eye teeth on the top jaw. Clean your hands with warm soapy water, then gently feel around in your baby's mouth for a raised bump where you suspect a tooth might emerge.
You can alleviate your baby's discomfort while she is cutting a tooth. Buy a teething ring and chill it briefly in the freezer or refrigerator. Don't buy liquid-filled rings because they can burst. Alternately, soak a clean wash cloth in water and freeze it for half an hour. Your little one might appreciate the rough texture of cloth on her sore gums. Babies who are used to solid food might enjoy sucking on a Popsicle or a piece of frozen fruit. Breastfed infants might find comfort in longer nursing sessions. If nothing else helps, talk to your physician about administering a small dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
It's important for your infant's long-term dental health that you begin good oral hygiene habits before her first tooth emerges. Once a day, wipe your baby's gums down with a clean, damp wash cloth. When her first tooth erupts, use a soft-bristled tooth brush dipped in water and brush her teeth twice a day. Do not use any toothpaste until your child is old enough to spit it back out again. Talk to your pediatrician about fluoride-containing vitamins. Take your baby to visit a dentist around her first birthday.