If you just became a parent or plan to become one in the future, then you should learn how to help a teething baby. Teething occurs when a baby's first teeth begin to emerge through their gums and is an important milestone that all babies experience.
A lot of information is available about teething, but not all of it is true. You may have heard some teething myths from well-meaning friends and family members. Read on to learn about three baby teething myths and the truth behind them.
1. All Babies Begin Teething at 6 Months
As a parent, you likely take steps to ensure your child's development stays on track. However, many babies hit development milestones earlier or later than other babies. You may have heard that babies begin teething at 6 months, but realize that this is just the average age babies begin teething. Your baby could begin teething sooner or later than this.
Most babies actually begin teething between the ages of 4 and 7 months. However, some babies begin teething as early as 3 months of age, and some have teeth that do not begin to emerge until they are 15 months of age.
A parent should only become concerned if their child has not yet had a single tooth erupt by the age of 18 months. Late tooth eruption can simply be hereditary and no cause for alarm or the sign of an underlying genetic abnormality. If your child's first tooth does not emerge by the time they are 18 months old, take them for a dental exam to determine the root cause of their dental delay.
2. Babies Become Physically Ill When Teething
Many babies become fussy, cry more frequently, experience the urge to chew, and/or have new sleeping difficulties when they begin teething. These symptoms are completely normal and related directly to the oral discomfort teething can cause.
You may have heard that babies who are teething can also develop diarrhea, diaper rash, or even ear infections when tackling this milestone. While a teething baby can develop one or more of these problems while in the midst of teething, they are not caused by the teething itself.
Doctors actually urge parents not to dismiss all signs of physical illness as teething symptoms when a baby’s teeth are first emerging. You don’t want to risk a serious illness going undetected due to a false belief that it is a normal symptom of teething.
3. It Is Okay to Give Frozen Foods to Teething Babies
It is fine to offer your child a safe item to chew on when they are teething, such as a chilled teething ring. However, you should not give your child frozen food items to chew on during tough teething times.
Some frozen foods, such as frozen waffles or frozen produce, are choking hazards to younger babies who are not yet eating solid foods. Chunks of the foods can easily break off while your baby is chewing them and become lodged in their airway.
Providing frozen or chilled food items to older babies who are already eating solid foods is also not recommended by dentists due to decay they can cause in teeth that have already emerged. Foods that contain even natural sugars can turn your baby's mouth into a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause cavities when sucked on for long periods of time.
The American Dental Association (ADA) advises all parents to take their babies to the dentist shortly after their first tooth emerges. During this appointment, your child's dentist will look for any oral health problems your child may have already developed and answer any questions you have about how to care for your baby's teeth.
Reach out to the staff at Steven Devins, DDS, to schedule your child's first dental exam today.