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Baby's first year : Teething

When do babies start teething?

On an average most babies get their first tooth at around six months although the most common range is between six and nine months. All babies are different. Some have a tooth present at birth whereas some may not have any teeth till they are one year old. It is not a cause of concern. Teething is known to follow a hereditary pattern, so if you or your partner started teething late, your baby may do the same.

In what order do the teeth appear and how many?

There are 20 primary teeth in all, 10 at the top and 10 at the bottom. The most common sequence for the primary teeth or the milk teeth is : Lower central incisors first, then the upper central incisors, then the lower lateral incisors and then the upper lateral incisors. However, this sequence is by no means fixed.

How will I know that my baby is teething?

Some teeth may come through with no pain at all while others may cause your baby some pain and discomfort. The symptoms usually precede the actual tooth by days, weeks or even months:

  • Drooling
  • Gum where tooth is to appear may look sore and red
  • Biting almost anything to relieve the pressure under the gums
  • One cheek may appear flushed
  • Ear pulling
  • Cheek rubbing

People tend to put all sorts of things down to teething like diarrhoea, fever, earache, rashes, crying, cold etc. This may or may not be true and it is not advisable to ignore any illness by putting it down to teething.

Can I help ease the discomforts of teething for my baby?

You can try the following to help relieve some of the teething pain and discomfort:

  • Rub her gums with your clean finger
  • Give her a chilled (and not frozen) teething ring
  • Chilled slice of carrot
  • Breadsticks to chew on
  • Sugar-free teething gel to rub on the gums(for babies over four months)
  • Sugar-free paracetamol suitable for babies
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