Baby Milk Teeth - Teething Symptoms and Care


Baby Milk Teeth – Teething Symptoms and Care

Has your child begun to grow their first milk teeth? Perhaps you’re still waiting for the big day and are looking for ways to care for your baby’s teeth when they approach weaning age.

Baby teeth play an important role in how children learn to chew, smile, and talk. Introducing regular oral health care can establish life-long benefits, from the moment your baby’s milk teeth come in, all the way to adulthood.

At which age do babies get teeth? And when can they expect a visit from the ‘tooth fairy’ as their milk teeth make way for secondary teeth? Read on for our guide on baby teeth care, including tips on how to soothe the symptoms of teething and what to expect when milk teeth come in.

When Do Babies Start Teething?

Babies start teething when they are between eight to twelve months old. The first milk teeth to come through, or ‘erupt’, are the central incisors – your child’s front teeth. Incisors usually fall out at six to eight years old.

Soon enough, they will begin to grow canines (16 – 22 months), then molars (25 – 33 months), gradually enabling your baby to enjoy a wider range of foods with their full set of milk teeth. Canine and molar teeth fall out at around the same age, at nine to twelve years old.

You may notice your baby cry more or begin to act crankier during teething age. That’s a normal sign of teething and occurs due to emerging milk teeth making their gums sore and tender.

Other symptoms of teething

1. Baby Drooling

You may notice your baby drooling more than usual during teething age. This is a normal symptom of teething and is merely a sign that their saliva glands are working harder than usual.

2. Baby Chewing Hands

Teething can result in some painful sensations for your baby, causing them to chew their fingers or hands as something to focus on.

3. Baby Can’t Sleep

A troubled sleep can often be the result of teething for babies, which is normal and shouldn’t last more than a few days – but if the situation persists, speak to your paediatrician for advice.

Teeth brushing and milk teeth

Teething is also a sign you should start brushing your baby’s teeth. Decay can begin as soon as teeth appear. For safety, brushing should be done by a parent or caregiver until 24 months. After then, your child can “help” guide the brush. However, it’s highly recommended that an adult should assist and monitor brushing their child’s teeth through age 7.

In fact, between the ages of 6-7 is when you can expect your child to start losing their milk teeth, to be gradually replaced with secondary teeth. This process usually continues until around the ages of 10-12, when the 2nd molars ‘erupt’, and the child’s milk teeth have all fallen out.

Symptoms that aren’t from teething

While some pain, irritation, or sensitivity is normal, here are some related teething symptoms that may require treatment from your paediatrician.

1. Fever

If your baby has a fever, this won’t be a direct symptom of teething. Speak to your doctor if your baby has a higher temperature than 37.5 °C.

2. Diarrhoea

Watery stools and diarrhoea aren’t a direct symptom of teething. This could result in dehydration if left untreated, so keep an eye on your baby’s bowel movements and speak to a paediatrician if the situation doesn’t improve.

3. Lack of Appetite

If your baby seems irritable or lacks interest during mealtimes, it could mean they are suffering a lack of appetite. This sometimes happens during teething when a milk tooth ‘erupts’ but shouldn’t last more than five days – unless another tooth is on its way! If not, it’s wise to speak to your paediatrician.

How to Soothe a Teething Baby

If your child has been irritable, visibly uncomfortable, or in distress during the teething stage, try these tips to soothe a teething baby.

1. Massage your baby’s gums

A clean finger is a natural teething soother for your baby. Wash your hands well and rub a finger over your baby’s gums in slow, circular motions. This calming sensation can help to soothe your teething baby.

2. Teething toys or rings

Choose a rubber, non-liquid, or gel-filled toy, and put it in the fridge to get nice and cold. You can then fetch the toy whenever teething symptoms crop up for your baby to suckle on (be sure to keep the toy clean).

3. A chilled teaspoon

If you haven’t got a teething toy, a chilled teaspoon is a home remedy that can just as easily deal with teething problems. Once the teaspoon is nicely chilled, softly rub the metal against your baby’s gums. The cold sensation will help to ease soreness.

4. Wipe drool away regularly

Babies drool more often during teething, which can result in a mild facial rash if the saliva is left unwiped. Change your baby's bib more often and wipe the drool from your baby’s face to leave it clean and dry.

When should my baby visit the dentist

Your baby should see a dentist before their first birthday. However, your baby can go as early as the first tooth’s appearance, or when their teething symptoms begin. This will not only keep their mouth healthy and start good habits, but you can get advice on caring for your baby’s teeth if you need it.

You can prepare for your child’s first dentist visit by talking to your child about what will happen and letting them know that it will be a positive experience. Try reading books or watching child-friendly videos about dentists. Encourage them to practice opening their mouth wide for the dentist. At your first visit, your dentist will probably have you sit in the dentist’s chair as you hold your child in your lap. A dentist will check to see how your child’s milk teeth and jaw are developing, check for decay in baby teeth, then clean their teeth.