It’s the time of agony for the kid and helplessness for the parent. When the teeth start tearing the gums to come out it can be very irritating for the kid; and the kid might try to stuff anything in their proximity into their mouth for relief. This makes teethers very important.
It’s for the parent/caregiver to relieve this agony, while taking care that dangerous/poisonous things are not put in the mouth by the kid.
The important things that need to be taken care of when the teeth start erupting are:
1. Relieving the agony of teething.
2. Maintaining the hygiene of the newly erupted teeth.
3. Preventing damage to the teeth.
I will be discussing on how to prevent damage to newly erupted teeth and why is it important in the next post.
1. Relieving the agony of teething:
Teething might start as early as 4 months of age and will continue up to 3 years.
Good oral hygiene of the gum pads before the first teeth erupt help the teeth to erupt in a cleaner environment and can make teething simpler.
As the teeth erupt from inside of the jaw, tearing the gum tissue over them it causes the gums to be bright red in color as compared to the original pink. This is normal and not of any concern.
The baby might tend to put any accessible thing in their mouth including their own hand. This should be avoided as it might damage the jaws and the teeth coming out might be crooked. Also putting unhygienic things in the mouth might cause infections.
Make sure that the baby doesn’t put anything unhygienic or their fingers/hand in the mouth.
Use Teethers. They give a surface for the babies to chew on that relieves the irritation.
c) Tips on using teethers
Use gel based or soft teethers that will not damage the gums when the baby is chewing on it. It will also help in massaging the gums.
Use a good quality teether to prevent its tearing or the gel leaking out. Check for the material of the teether to be non-toxic.
Cool the teether for sometime before giving it to the baby, as a cool surface will further reduce the irritation of the gums.
Clean the teethers well and, always check for any signs of wear before giving it to the baby.
Buy multiple teethers as the kid might be very attracted to one for a while and have nothing to do with it after sometime.
2. Maintaining hygiene of newly erupted teeth.
The first teeth to erupt in the mouth are generally the lower front two teeth. Initially a very small portion of them is seen. The rest of the mouth still just has the gum pad.
These teeth aren’t entirely developed and hence should not yet be cleaned with extensive force.
The newly erupted teeth need to be brushed gently to avoid decay. The brushing should be done softly in circular strokes with a smear or a rice grain size amount of non- fluoridated toothpaste. The remaining gum pads can be cleaned using a moist cloth or gauze as explained in the earlier post of the same series.
After the brushing and cleaning the gum pads some drinking water can be given to the kid, as the baby might be unable to spit.
Once all the teeth erupt (a total of 20) brushing can be done using a pea sized non- fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoridated toothpaste can be used after the child is able to swish and spit.
Next on the series “Why is care of milk teeth important?”