Baby teeth begin to erupt around the age of six months. This primary dentition will be complete by the second or third year of age with a total of 20 teeth.
As each child is different, the eruption of the primary dentition may go unnoticed or be accompanied by various discomforts or pain.
The most common symptoms of teething are:
- Gently rub the baby’s gum with a clean finger or a soothing toy that is cold from the freezer or refrigerator
- Offer a clean and wet washcloth, previously refrigerated, to chew on
- Offer a chilled, non-frozen, teething ring
- If pain persists, your dentist, pharmacist or doctor may recommend an over-the-counter medication to provide relief
- Rubbing your baby’s gums with a gel for pain, as they may swallow it
- Giving teething biscuits, as they may contain added or hidden sugar
- Offering raw vegetables or hard fruits, as they may be a choking hazard
Baby teeth are anatomically and physiologically different from the permanent dentition. The dental enamel is particularly thinner, which makes it more prone to the development of cavities. Hence the importance of adopting healthy oral hygiene habits.