Teething is a process where babies grow their first few teeth. Usually, the process begins when the baby is about six months old, and ends when they reach 12 months.
At this stage, they will have a minimum of two lower front teeth. Typically though, babies will have a matching pair of upper front teeth by then as well.
What happens to babies during teething?
Babies generally become crankier and fussier than usual during the teething period. This is caused by the mild swelling and soreness in the gums as the teeth gradually grows larger. The teeth will emerge on the surface on the gums between three and five days after the swelling.
Most babies react quite well to the pain, and very few openly cry. Some attempt to soothe the discomfort by biting their fingers, pacifiers, or any toys they can grab hold of. The process is frequently accompanying by drooling.
In a few instances, babies will show symptoms of fever and localised rashes, which will clear up within a couple of days.
Tips to help your teething baby
If the baby appears to be in great discomfort, use a finger to gently rub on the baby’s gums for a couple of minutes. The baby might initially resist the intrusion, but he or she will calm down after a few seconds.
However, wash your hands cleanly first before inserting a finger inside the baby’s mouth.
We recommend not to use teething gel sold over the counter on your baby. Most of the gels sold can cause the baby’s throat to dry up, which will cause difficulty when swallowing.
A teething ring can provide your baby with a small measure of comfort, especially if they are in a pain. The baby can exert pressure on the ring which will reduce their level of discomfort.
However, the teething rings must be placed in the fridge first to cool it. A cool teething ring tends to work better compared to one under normal ambient temperature.
However, never place the ring in the freezer as it will harden the material and hurt the baby’s gums when pressure if applied.
In addition, as convenient as it may be, don’t hang the teether on a chain around the baby’s neck – it is a choking hazard.
A teething toy is extremely useful to babies, and not simply due to its ability to alleviate the pain and discomfort experienced by babies.
Experts believe that the repeated actions of grabbing the toy, inserting it into the mouth successfully and biting into it are very sophisticated fine motor skills that can hasten a baby’s pace of cognitive development and problem-solving skills. The action also improves the baby’s coordination skills.
Teething toys should ideally be chilled before use. Chill, not frozen in the freezer, which can cause cuts or other injuries in the baby’s mouth.
Some manufacturers outside of Europe and North America continue using Bisphenol A (BPA) in the manufacturing process as the substance is capable of producing clear, see through plastic.
However, studies have shown that BPA will gradually leech into the bloodstream and cause a variety of other health complications. As such, parents should only buy products that are free from BPA.