My Baby – Week 24
The big development this week is teeth! Can you believe it? If you haven’t seen them already, they should start peeking their way through your infant’s little gums soon enough. During the teething phase, it helps to know what to expect and what you can do to make the process a little less painful for both you and your child.
Usually, the first teeth to appear are the central incisors, or the two front teeth on the bottom. A month or two later, the central and lateral incisors – or the four, front, top teeth – show up.
Some sure signs of teething are drooling and lots of chewing (like on their favorite stuffed toy). For some lucky parents, teething is a painless process for their infant, others experience only short periods of irritability. Other infants however, can have a harder time with teething, and may be cranky for weeks and have disrupted sleep and eating patterns. Though your baby’s temperature may be a little elevated during teething, they shouldn’t experience a high fever. If your baby seems unusually uncomfortable, or does develop a high fever or other issues, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician or health care provider with questions.
When your child is teething you should…
Be sure to wipe that pesky drool off his face. Drool can cause painful rashes, and simply keeping his face dry can help prevent that! You might find that a small bib helps keep things drier.
Give your baby something to chew on. Rubber teething rings are especially designed to help ease the pain of teething. If you would like to give your child something cold to help ease the pain, something as simple as a wet washcloth placed in the freezer for 30 minutes should do the trick! Just be sure whatever you give him isn’t too large to be lodged in his throat, and has no small pieces that are in danger of coming loose.
Keeping Baby Teeth Clean
Even though her first set of teeth will eventually fall out, it is important to take care of your baby’s “baby” teeth. Tooth decay and cavities in baby teeth cannot only be painful for your child, but it can also cause those teeth to fall out ahead of schedule. When this happens, your child’s remaining teeth shift position, trying to fill the empty spaces, which will then cause permanent teeth to come in crooked.
In terms of your infant’s dental hygiene, daily dental care should actually begin before your baby’s first tooth emerges (if you haven’t started yet, don’t worry). You should begin by wiping your baby’s gums daily with a clean, damp cloth, or even brush them gently with an infant toothbrush (no toothpaste). When the first little tooth appears, brush it gently with water only. Toothpaste will be okay to use when your child is old enough to spit it out, because ingesting large amounts of fluoride is harmful for children.
Also be sure that your infant isn’t going to bed with bottles full of milk or juice. This will only lead to tooth decay.