For a baby who is reasonably well, the age of teething is just a matter of the pattern of development the baby was born with. In one family most of the children teethe early, in another delayed. You can’t determine your baby is extra clever for teething early, or usually backward for teething late.
The typical baby gets the first tooth around 7 months, but has been drooling, biting, and having periods of fretfulness from the age of 3 or 4 months. Because babies get twenty teeth in their first 2 1/2 years, it is simple to see that they are teething most of that entire time. This also explains why it’s so easy to blame every complaint on teething.
In the bygone days it was the custom to blame teething for colds, diarrheas, or fevers. These conditions are caused by germs and not by teething. However, in some babies it looks as though teething lowers resistance, making it easier for an infection to begin at that time. But if your baby becomes sick while teething, or has a fever as high as 101F, a physician is required to identify and heal the disease just as much as if the baby had gotten sick when not teething.
Generally the first two teeth are the lower central incisors.; (“Incisor” is the name given to the eight front teeth, which have sharp cutting edges.) After a few months come the four upper incisors. The standard baby has these six teeth, four above, and two below, when about a year old. After this there’s commonly a break of several months. Then six more teeth are apt to come in, without much pause in between the two remaining lower incisors, and all four first molars. The molars don’t come in next to the incisor teeth but farther back, leaving a space for the canine teeth.
After the first molar tooth, there is a pause of a few months before the canines (the pointed “dog teeth”) come through in the spaces between the incisors and the molars. The typical time is in the second half of the second year. The last four teeth in the baby set are the second molars. They come in right behind the first molars, generally in the first half of the third year.
The first four molar teeth, which in the average baby come through between a year and a year and a half, are more expected to cause babies trouble than the others. They may be cranky and lose their appetites for days at a time. They may wake up crying a few times each night.
Let the baby chew. Sometimes parents think it’s a duty to keep their baby from putting objects in her mouth and chewing. This notion will certainly make the parents and the baby frantic in time. Most babies must put items in their mouths, off and on, at least from 6 months to 15 months. The best that a parent can do is provide chewable things that are dull enough so that if the baby falls with them in the mouth they won’t do too much harm.
Rubber teething rings of assorted shapes are good, but any piece of rubber that the baby can hold easily will do. You have to be wary about toys made from thin brittle plastic. Babies sometimes break off and swallow small bits or choke on them. You also have to be watchful that the baby doesn’t chew the paint off furniture and other items if there is any danger that the paint is made with lead.
These days practically all babies’ furniture and painted toys are painted with lead-free paint. You have to think about items that have been repainted at home or that were never expected to be chewed by babies. Some babies favor a certain kind of cloth for chewing on. Or, you can tie an ice cube or a slice of apple in a square of cloth. Let them have what they appear to want as long as it’s not hazardous.
You don’t have to worry about the germs on a teething ring or a preferred piece of cloth. They are the baby’s own germs, anyway. Of course, it’s a good idea to clean the teething ring with soap after it has fallen on the floor or after the dog has gotten it. If the baby chews on a piece of cloth, you can boil it occasionally. Some babies like to have their gums steadily rubbed at times.
Seeing is believing, but sometimes we can’t all experience every subject in life. This article hopes to make up for that by providing you with a valuable resource of information on this topic.