Spotting your baby's first little tooth pop out from their gums can be a very exciting yet daunting time for parents. The first signs of teeth symbolise the next stage in your child's growth, and a few months or years of frustration and discomfort as their gummy smile develops into a beautiful white one!
We've put together some tips on how you can help your little one through the pain, and what to avoid to make it worse.
Caring for your little one's teeth is important from the moment they start to poke out of their gums! To begin with, you won't need a toothbrush. Instead, use a damp cloth or gauze to gently wipe their little teeth, which helps to prevent plaque build up and decay, especially after feeding. This should be done twice a day, just like yours!
You can graduate to brushing once they have a few baby teeth, or you can wait until they are 2 or 3 years old. Start using a tiny rice sized amount of toothpaste and slowly start to increase this to pea sized once your little one is comfortable with it. Remember their taste buds are much more sensitive than ours, so its important that you use infant toothpaste! Change to flouride toothpaste when your child is about 3 and can reliably spit out the toothpaste instead of swallowing.
Relieving the Pain
A few days before a tooth starts to come through, your baby will most likely feel some discomfort or pain, and this will cause them to cry or fuss much more than usual. They will usually have red or inflamed gums, be drooling in excess, and possibly a higher temperature than usual.
To help ease this for your little one, you can do a number of things:
Teething Gels - These gels are specifically made for children, so make sure that you get the right one! They work by both relieving the pain and preventing bacteria build up, so it's important that you use this to help your little one when they begin teething and crying. Although the effects of this only last for around 20 minutes, you can usually reapply throughout the day, so ensure that you thoroughly read the instructions before use.
Teething Rings - These rings are designed and made to help soothe teething. Chewing on something like a teething ring, or even a clean cloth or toy, can help to distract and ease the pain - plus you can put the teething rings into the fridge to cool them down before giving them to your little one, which should feel even better!
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Even milk contains sugar so it's important that you try to avoid adding lots of extra sugar in your little one's diet from an early age. Too much of it can speed up decay, and begin to have a damaging affect on your child's oral health. Try to avoid giving your little one lots of sugary drinks and use only water. Watch out of medicine that contains lots of sugar and try to avoid over-using it, especially for those that have chronic illnesses or weak immune systems.
All of this should help to keep your little one's teeth from causing them too much pain in their early years. It may seem like an uphill struggle but just think of how beautiful they will look with their pearly whites once it's all over!