Primary teeth usually erupt once a child reaches around six months of age. Most kids will have up to 20 of them by the time they hit three years old. As for adult or permanent teeth, they begin popping up around six.
As your child’s primary teeth start to grow, they require proper care to ensure they develop properly. Even if they are temporary, they serve a crucial role in your child’s oral health by establishing the space permanent teeth need. The primary teeth also help in forming your child’s facial structure and establishing their speech development.
When caring for a growing baby’s teeth, one of the main concerns is the discomfort it causes. So, providing pain relief for teething babies will be one of your main priorities. Even before the signs of teething sets in, make following an oral cleaning routine a standard practice. It’s crucial to prevent cavities once the primary teeth fully settle.
If you want to ensure proper care for growing baby’s teeth, start by following these do’s and don’ts.
Do’s For A Growing Baby’s Teeth
The gums turn sore once teething starts, which can cause babies a lot of discomfort to the point of pain. Luckily, there are several measures you can take to ease that.
- Lessen The Discomfort With A Cool Teething Ring Or Spoon
Gently place a teething ring on your baby’s mouth to ease sore gums. Ideally, it should be chilled in the fridge first to be effective. An alternative is holding a cool spoon over the gums to ease the discomfort.
- Follow An Oral Care Routine
Start an oral hygiene routine by brushing your baby’s teeth at least twice daily. As the primary teeth emerge, this is something you can safely do. Select a toothbrush with a small head, soft bristles, and a handle long enough for easy maneuvering. Make sure not to press hard to hard into your baby’s mouth as you go.
Flossing is also something to include in the routine. Once the teeth start to grow close to each other, you can use floss to remove clumps and morsels between the spaces.
- Massage The Gums With A Clean Finger
Massage your baby’s gums lightly using a clean finger after thoroughly washing your hands. This is a more direct way to soothe their aching mouths.
- Apply A Teething Gel Or Use Over-The-Counter Pain Medication
On your pediatrician’s advice, you can use a sugar-free teething gel or an over-the-counter pain medication. Depending on the product’s instruction, you should apply a pea-sized amount using a clean fingertip or cotton applicator and spread it over the gums. Do this on the affected area up to four times a day or as instructed by the doctor. For pain medication, use a sugar-free formulation of ibuprofen or paracetamol.
- Maintain A Consistent Bedtime Routine
If your child finds it hard to sleep at night due to teething, try to establish a routine to help them relax. First, make sure everything in their room is uncluttered and calm. Set them in comfortable clothes and bedding, and keep all the lights low. Then, sing their favorite lullaby or read a story aloud until they can fall asleep.
Don’ts For A Growing Baby’s Teeth
Conversely, here are the things you should avoid when your baby is teething.
- Use Ice Cubes
Avoid giving ice cubes to your baby since they pose a choking hazard. The sharp edges may cut the sensitive tissues in the mouth. Plus, if your child bites on an ice cube, it wears down the enamel of the primary teeth, resulting in tiny fractures that foster tooth decay.
- Use Frozen Objects
Following up on the previous point, frozen objects also harm the gums. While pressing something cold on the gums is acceptable before the teeth show, you should stop once they do.
- Use Medications With Benzocaine
Some soothing creams or gels for babies might contain benzocaine, which may not be suitable for kids their age. Check with your pediatrician first before using a product with this substance.
- Provide Sugary Foods Or Beverages
Sugary beverages and foods increase the risk of tooth decay. It’s best to avoid or limit the amount your baby consumes overall.
- Use A Baby Bottle As A Pacifier
Don’t allow your baby to sleep with a bottle. Some parents often resort to this when soothing their babies. But it exposes the growing baby’s teeth to sugar, potentially increasing the risk of developing baby bottle tooth decay.
Ensure The Proper Development Of Their First Set Of Teeth
As your child reaches six months of age, expect the primary or baby teeth to erupt steadily one by one. The teething phase can bring about discomfort due to sore gums. Knowing the do’s and don’ts when caring for your growing baby’s teeth will minimize your child’s discomfort ensuring the proper growth of their first set. It can also save you a lot of time and trouble.