One of the most commonly photographed moments in a baby's development is the first tooth eruption. Once teeth start to appear, which typically happens from six months old, your child must enter into a regular dentist visit regime. Regular dentist visits help strengthen your child's chance of a healthy mouth, including the teeth. However, between dentist visits, you face 20 instances of a teething baby (if all 20 teeth come in one at a time.) As you move through this time of pain, shed cheeks and general upset, here are three tips dentists want every parent to know during teething time.
Do Not Freeze Teething Rings
Many babies find comfort from chewing teething rings, washcloths or other such pliable objects. Chewing these objects distracts the child from the discomfort and may provide pain relief as blood flow increases in the area. However, dentists recommend using a cold item rather than a frozen one. A solid, frozen object may damage the emerging tooth due to its inflexibility. Additionally, a frozen thing is too harsh for the sensitive environment of a child's mouth. Instead, stick to soft or semi-thawed cold objects to relieve your child.
Regular Gum Massage
Another way to provide discomfort relief to your child during teething is to massage your child's gums with a finger. Place your middle finger into your child's mouth and gently massage the gum in a circular motion around the erupting tooth. However, remember these two tips for massaging success:
- always wash your hands before the massage, so you do not introduce bacteria into your child's mouth; and
- be alert so that your child does not bite your finger, as that hurts!
Always Remove A Bottle From A Sleeping Teething Baby
Once a baby gets its primary teeth, there is always the potential for tooth decay. One common cause of baby tooth decay comes from milk. Milk contains natural sugars that create cavity-causing bacteria when left in the mouth. A bottle nipple is a teething relief for a baby, but when a child falls asleep mid-drink, it is vital to remove the bottle and wipe excess milk away from the mouth. By not leaving milk on your child's teeth, you lower the chance of early-age decay taking place.
If you have any concerns about erupting teeth or the teething process, be sure to discuss these fears with your pediatric dentist. Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to solving your child's dental issues.