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Beautiful community! Last time I shared about oral care for little ones you all had so many questions. I have reached out to an amazing dental hygienist and got lots of answers for you, please read below!

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Hello! My name is Kristen and I am a full-time registered dental hygienist and full-time mother to two young boys, Cameron (2) and Clay (4 months). For the past decade, I have been practicing dentistry and providing oral health education and recommendations to parents and children of all ages. I am also a Dental Expert at Grin Natural, and we work together on providing oral health knowledge to parents so you can start your baby’s oral health at ease and with peace of mind! 

I am here as part of Grin’s mission to empower Bumpnbub’s community - you, beautiful mamas with resources that are related to you the most when becoming the first-time parent - TEETHING! I am here as part of Grin’s mission to empower Bumbnbub’s community of beautiful mamas and first-time parents by providing you with resources related to a common dental topic - TEETHING! Believe it or not, your little one is born with their baby teeth. They’re just under the gums and take their time when coming in. So when can you expect to see these tooth buds start pushing through your child’s gums?

WHEN DOES TEETHING BEGIN AND HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?

Typically, the first tooth will erupt between 6 and 12 months of age. However, teething can begin as early as 4 months of age or as late as one year.  Often by age three, all baby teeth have come in. It is common to notice teething signs and symptoms, however, before you see these little buds make their appearance. 

While the signs and symptoms of teething are often recognizable, it is important to be able to differentiate teething from an illness.

5 OF THE MOST COMMON SIGNS OF TEETHING:

  1. Excessive drooling

  2. The constant desire to chew on things

  3. Irritable or fussiness

  4. Difficulty sleeping

  5. Change or loss in appetite 

EXCESS DROOL:

You may want to go ahead and stock up on bibs by 6 months of age. During the teething process, saliva is stimulated and you may notice your child’s skin around their mouth or neck becoming slightly irritated. 

  • Keep areas of drool clean and dry and change bibs often. This will help reduce the chance of a rash. 

  • If you notice their skin becoming dry or chapped, you can use a moisturizing cream to help with healing. 

CONSTANT CHEWING:

You may be finding your little one constantly putting things in their mouth to chew or bite on, including their little hands. My four-month-old has officially entered this stage. Chewing and gnawing help soothe gums from the pressure of newly erupting teeth. 

  • Have designated teething toys around to help eliminate the risk for a choking hazard. Be sure to look for age-appropriate toys and give with supervision.

  • Chill teething rings in the refrigerator, not the freezer. Freezing will make the ring too hard and may lead to damage to teeth or gums. 

  • Make homemade popsicles using fresh fruits or veggie purees to help soothe your child’s gums. Be cautious of adding sugary substances (juice) to the popsicles to help reduce the risk for cavities.

  • AVOID plastic or liquid-filled teething rings, numbing topical gels and tablets, and teething necklaces and jewelry.

IRRITABLE, FUSSY, DIFFICULTY SLEEPING

A teething little one may make you as a parent equally irritable, fussy, and tired from a lack of sleep. 

  • Try using a wet or damp cloth to massage your little one’s gums to help relieve some of the discomforts. I use a silicone finger brush to massage my infant’s gums when he is fussy. 

  • Speak with your pediatrician about giving your child infant or children's over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) if they are extremely uncomfortable. Be sure to check medication labels for dosing based on age and weight. It is not recommended for babies under 6 months of age to have ibuprofen. 

CHANGE IN APPETITE: 

Teething may lead to your little one seeking certain foods or beverages that help ease any discomfort. For example, my toddler wanted to chew on cold apple slices when he was teething. Teething may also result in a loss of appetite. 

  • Offer foods that do not have added sugars to help reduce the risk for cavities.

  • Avoid putting your child to bed with sugared beverages (milk, juice, sweetened drinks). 

  • If you notice a significant change in diet, contact your pediatrician to ensure your child does not become dehydrated. 

SYMPTOMS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH TEETHING:

According to the ADA, the following symptoms are not caused by teething and you should contact your pediatrician if you notice any of them as they can be related to other illnesses. 

  • Fever > 100.4 (farenheit) and >38 celsius 

  • Diarrhea

  • Rash (different than slight skin irritation around the mouth, chin, neck from drool) 

Thankfully, teething symptoms are overall short-lived and can be managed at home. 

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR BABY’S FIRST TOOTH?

Even before those little tooth buds begin to erupt, you can start introducing your child to good oral health practices. 

  • Use a damp cloth or finger brush gently on your baby’s gums to help remove the bacteria associated with cavities, especially before falling asleep at night. 

Once your baby’s first tooth comes in, it’s important to keep it clean by brushing. Oral bacteria interact with sugars and create an acid that can lead to tooth decay when teeth are present. 

  • Choose an age-appropriate sized toothbrush.

  • Use mild toothpaste. 

  • Limit the amount of added sugars in your child’s diet. 

Grin Natural offers a baby oral care set to help keep those newly erupted teeth healthy. 

  • The silicone finger brush has a dimpled side to offer relief from teething gums and a brush side to keep the first few teeth clean. 

  • Their toothpaste is free of artificial sweeteners and preservatives and safe as your baby’s first toothpaste.

  • The toothpaste's main ingredients (Organic Calendula Oil, Organic Aloe Vera extract, and Organic Sea Salt) help soothe swollen and tender gums related to teething. 

Routine dental care is also an important factor for your child’s oral health. The Australian Dental Association recommends your child’s first dental visit when your baby's first tooth becomes visible or they reach 12 months old – whichever comes first. 

If you suspect your child is uncomfortable related to other reasons outside of teething, you may want to schedule a time to speak with your pediatrician or dental provider. 

For my global mamas, be sure to check out Grin oral care range at grinnatural.com (use Bumpnbub to get 10% off) or check out Grin Natural’s kids and adult range in your local Chemist Warehouse and Woolworth (from the end of March) stores Australia national-wide! 

Please note, although this blog was written by a health professional - this doesn’t replace the need for medical advice. Always contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns at all.