Teething is the formation and development process of the first teeth within the oral cavity.
The milk teeth (or first teeth) begin to appear around 6-7 months, and the process is usually complete at around the age of 3. While the definitive teeth begin to appear at the age of 6.
The appearance of milk teeth is a big change in the baby's life. From this moment on, they will be able to bite and grind with their teeth, which will lead to a significant transformation in their diet. This process begins with the appearance of the incisors, which are very useful when it comes to chewing vegetables and soft foods, and continues with the molars and canines, necessary for the consumption of meat and other more consistent foods.
What are the symptoms?
The teething process is occasionally associated with an inflammation of the gums and pain and, in addition, it tends to manifest itself with general discomfort.
In this sense, it is common for the pain of the teeth coming out to cause babies to drool more heavily than usual, unusual irritability, inconsolable crying and decreased appetite. Sometimes their sleep can be disturbed and they may get diarrhoea.
The following tips will help ease the pain of the first teeth coming through in babies:
- Using teethers. Chewing movements seem to mitigate gum pain in infants. This is why teethers are a common resource for relieving symptoms that appear when the first teeth come through.
- Eating cold food. The baby's first teeth usually appear to coincide with the start of complementary feeding, so offering them cold foods such as fruit or gelatin can help ease the pain of the first teeth coming through.
- Gum massage. Gently rubbing the gums with a clean finger, a small cold spoon, or a wet gauze pad can help to reduce the swelling and therefore the discomfort.
- Gel for first teeth. Gum gels specifically formulated to ease the pain of the teeth coming through in babies are a great help, as they reduce gum inflammation and relieve the discomfort caused by teething.
However, in order to be effective, it is key that these products for calming the pain of the first teeth contain non-toxic softening and decongestant substances. Among them, high molecular weight hyaluronic acid stands out.
- Medicines to relieve the pain of the teeth coming through. On certain occasions, the pain of the first teeth can be very intense and cause a great deal of discomfort for the baby. Also, the inflammation of the gums can be accompanied by an increase in body temperature.
In these cases, the paediatrician can assess the possibility of prescribing analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic drugs orally.
When should children be taken to the dentist for the first time?
Oral health and the mouth's appropriate development are part of the child's general health. From birth, the oral cavity must be explored to detect possible abnormalities. If there are no alterations, a good time to start visits to the dentist would be when the first teeth begin to emerge (at 6 months - 1 year).
Subsequently, when their second teeth are coming through, periodic check-ups are also essential. These visits should be carried out throughout childhood and adolescence.