Babies’ teeth start to develop in the womb, long before the baby is born. Most babies’ first teeth start to show, or “erupt”, between 4 and 7 months of age in a process known as teething.
The first teeth to appear are the two bottom incisors – the teeth at the front of the mouth – and these are followed closely by the top two incisors directly above. Next come the molars at the back of the mouth.
By the age of three your child will have all 20 baby teeth. Children start losing their baby teeth around the age of six, although in some children (usually girls) it can be earlier and in others later.
Most children show signs of teething – for example, drooling (which can lead to a facial rash and/or red cheeks) or rubbing of the face. Common symptoms include gum swelling and sensitivity, irritability or fussiness, biting behaviour, refusal of food, and sleeping problems.
Treatment remedies for teething problems include giving your child something to bite or chew on, such as a teething ring or necklace, or a cold face washer. Cold foods like yoghurt may also provide relief.
Rubbing a numbing gel onto the gums is a good option, but always consult with your GP or dentist before using any such preparation in the mouth.
If a facial rash bas been caused by drooling, you can protect the skin from further irritation by gently wiping the skin with a soft, wet, cotton cloth and smoothing some petroleum jelly onto the affected area at night or when your child is napping.
If at any time throughout the teething process you are worried about particular signs or symptoms or you think something may not be right, don’t hesitate to seek advice from your dentist as to appropriate treatment remedies. We recommend that you start brining your child to the dentist when his or her first teeth start to appear.