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Be prepared for teething

By Burgie Ireland RN RM SANC

Arm yourself with teething gels, gum soothers, primary toothbrushes, bibs, bum cream and anti-pyrexial’s mom – teething starts just when colic and sleepless nights are under control!

As humans, we have omnivore teeth. This means we eat plants and animals. Baby’s milk tooth buds start developing in the gum from eight weeks gestation. These cells come from the mesoderm – or skeletal cells. Development begins from the outside in. When the root starts to grow, it pushes the tooth through the gum. This usually happens around six months and lasts until about the age of three, or when the first molars appear.   

Today we’re hyperaware of taking good care of our children’s teeth. We know that sugar damages tooth enamel. Toddlers drinking sweetened soda from a bottle are innocently up against a double-whammy – sugar, a teat that may not be orthodontically designed and a stopper to speech development.

The 20 milk teeth of babyhood are important because they help to position permanent teeth. While the gums are growing, permanent teeth are already developing. The appearance of razor-sharp baby teeth coincides with the introduction of solids. Babies use these to learn how to chew.

Tots are often irritable while they’re teething. They also dribble when their gums are swollen, they may have soft poop and a nappy rash and are often restless at night.

It's key to soothe symptoms and bring relief to those hurting gums. Babies enjoy chewing on anything that’s hard and cold. Teething gels and powders can also help.

Keeping those tiny teeth clean is important. You can use a clean piece of flannel or a special finger hood to rub the tooth clean. ‘Starter brushes’ are great for teaching a baby to put a toothbrush into his/her mouth and copy you. Littlies should use baby toothbrushes and toothpaste till about the age of three.

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