We’ve spent the weekend trying to soothe Samuel, who is cutting his first top teeth. His bottom teeth came through without any problems a few weeks ago, but these seem to be causing him a lot of pain. So I thought it would be helpful to put together a few facts about teething.
1. Teething is really painful.
I’ll clarify this. Sometimes, teething seems to be really painful. Other times, the teeth pop through without any trouble at all. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it, but anecdotally, the canine teeth and the molars seem to be particularly bad.
2. The acid causes all the issues.
When a baby is teething, their saliva becomes more acidic. This, in turn, causes teething rash, nappy rash, terrible poo and sickness. It also used to make Ben’s eczema flare up.
3. Their immune systems are compromised.
At least, this is what Dr Google tells me. In my experience, teething quite often brings about another illness. Ben would often get ear infections when he was cutting a tooth. This weekend, Samuel has a cold. There are different theories about the reasons for this, but just be aware that the teething may well be coupled with something else.
4. Teething can cause pain even when a tooth isn’t breaking through.
This fact blew my mind: by the age of 4, a child will have his baby teeth in his mouth, and all his adult teeth formed in his skull. So between birth (when the tooth buds are forming teeth) and 4 years old, they have to grow two sets of teeth. They usually cut all their baby teeth by 2 and a half. That is a huge amount of growing and moving going on!
I think this diagram illustrates it pretty well. Look at how far the canine teeth have to descend! No wonder they are called ‘eye-teeth.’
So you might think your child is teething and then no tooth comes through. It might just be all the movement and tooth development below or above the gum line.
If you’re not too squeamish, google ‘are we born with two sets of teeth’ on Google Images to see skeletons and models.
5. There is very little you can do about it – except give pain relief.
Teething babies act in very different ways. Some feed more, some feed less. Some sleep more (not mine), some sleep less. Some get high temperatures, some don’t. But in my experience, teething is really unpleasant, and we can only try to make them as comfortable as possible. In my book, this means Calpol and Nurofen. I’ve personally found Nurofen much more effective at bringing down a high temperature.
I remember Ben cutting one of his molar teeth when he was around 2. He had woken up around 9pm, sobbing, and crying “My mouth, my mouth!” In the morning, there was blood on his pillow from his mouth where the tooth had cut through. I had previously wondered if I was a bit too quick to give Calpol. From that point on, I trusted my judgement.
This diagram is really helpful – at least you know that most of it is over and done with by 33 months (which is 2 years and 9 months).
If you liked this, you might like to follow my Parenting board on Pinterest.