Cutting teeth is an exciting baby milestone – but one that doesn’t happen all at once. In fact, it takes years for your bub to develop a full set of chompers.
Here’s everything you need to know about teething:
- According to experts, by the time your bub is three they should have a full set of chompers. However, when your baby first starts cutting their teeth is different for each child.
- Teeth begin developing when your child is still in the womb. While you were pregnant, your baby developed tooth buds, the foundation for baby teeth (also called milk teeth). In very rare cases, some babies are born with a few teeth or their teeth develop in the first months of life. But the vast majority of babies sprout their first tooth sometime between 4 and 7 months old.
- If your baby’s an early developer, you may see the first white cap appear on the bottom of the gums as early as 3 months. For the late bloomers, teeth only sometimes appear after your baby celebrates their first birthday and thereafter.
- The last teeth to appear are the second molars, found in the very back of the mouth on the top and bottom. They usually begin cutting through when your child is around three. Shortly after that, your child should have a full set of 20 baby teeth.
Signs of Teething
Some babies cut teeth with little effort, while others may feel uncomfortable and upset as theirs cut through their gums. If the latter is the case, there are a host of teething gels and powders to soothe your little one’s gums. Saying that, it’s important to note that teething doesn’t cause illness. So if your little one is suffering from a fever while teething, or diarrhoea it could be a sign that they’ve come down with a cold. If this is the case, it’s essential to seek medical advice.
Here are a few teething symptoms:
- Drooling (which can lead to a facial rash and red, puffy cheeks)
- Gum swelling and sensitivity
- Irritability or fussiness
- Biting behaviour
- Refusing food
- Sleep problems
- Wanting to put things in their mouth
Most babies get their teeth in order. The bottom two middle ones first, then the top two middle ones, then the ones along the sides and back. Check out the handy infographic below to see exactly what we mean:
It’s best to start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they start cutting through, and adding fluoride to their diet from about 6-months. Use a soft baby toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste. Look for baby toothpaste that says 1000ppm fluoride on the packaging. Try and reach all the areas in their mouth, including their gums. If you can’t get to certain areas then begin flossing with colourful flossing sticks specially developed for tots.
Also, try not to put your baby to bed with a bottle or breastfeed them to sleep. Formula and breastmilk before bed at night can lead to tooth decay.
Children only start losing their teeth from the age of 6 when their permanent teeth start to push through.