Teething - The Basics

Teething - The Basics

Teething is a process that differs from baby to baby. Most infants tend to get their first tooth after about four to five months. There could be some who could start as late as after the completion of their first year. And there are a few who already have a tooth cap visible at the time of their birth. In fact, teeth develop as tooth buds in the gums when baby is still in the mother's womb. It's only a matter of time for teeth to start breaking out from the gums. However, if teething takes a long time or if the tooth looks loose, wobbly and unsettled, then do visit your doctor.

A baby completes his first set of teeth, 20 in number, by the time he attains the age of three. These are known as milk or primary teeth and are very sharp, so if you continue to breastfeed your baby, you will need to be careful and teach him not to bite. They are called milk teeth due to their whiteness. As your baby grows and reaches six to seven years of age, he will start losing teeth, which will gradually be replaced by a set of 32 permanent teeth.

The symptoms of teething become apparent a couple of weeks before you spot your baby's first tooth. Some of these signs could be:

  • Irritable and cranky behaviour

  • An increase in drooling and a tendency to put his fingers or fist into his mouth to relieve the tingling pain. However, too much drooling can cause excess secretion of saliva which in turn can cause rashes to develop around baby's chin, so wipe off the saliva and apply petroleum jelly over the area.

  • Developing biting behaviour

  • Refusing food because of painful, swollen gums

  • Many parents associate symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting or fever with teething. Child development experts disagree and believe that these symptoms are due to an underlying medical cause which requires a doctor's attention.