Jan 112013

TeethingA balanced diet rich in calcium does not only protect the mama’s teeth while she is pregnant but also contributes to the development of her new born baby’s dental formula.

The dental formula gets formed as other organs are getting formed in the womb.

Dentists say that some antibiotics taken by the mum while pregnant and taken by baby in the early part of their life can make the saliva constitution weak making the dental formula not develop well.

To keep your baby’s teeth healthy, feed them well avoid or delay processed sugars as long as is possible to prevent tooth decay and cavity formation. Start brushing baby’s teeth as soon as the first tooth is out.


Milk teeth:


Photo from Adam

Photo from Adam

Also called the primary teeth, these are the first teeth your baby gets.

They start breaking through the gums when your baby is 6 months old. For some babies this may happen earlier or later than 6 months.


In general,

  • Girls generally are earlier than boys in tooth eruption
  • The lower teeth usually erupt first then the upper teeth
  • The molars tend to erupt on both sides at the same time
  • Every 6 months baby has about 4 teeth erupt
  • The milk teeth have all erupted by the age of 2 to 3 years.

Here’s how to tell your baby is teething and some tips to help baby go through this phase


This is from the inflamed gums caused by the poking under the gums. The first teeth usually hurt the most simply because they are the first. The molars hurt too as they are bigger. Baby is generally pain free and comfortable with the development of the rest. Your baby may get irritable for a few hours to days, and their regular pattern may change. Some babies start waking up in the night when they were sleeping through.

What to do: Cool the gum. You can purchase a teething ring or cut some easy to hold slices of a carrot. Store either in the fridge and give it to baby periodically. Baby will enjoy biting on it and that sooths the gum especially as it is cold.

Slight Fever:

This is thought to be as a result of the inflamed gums. Inflammation generally causes a slight fever. Teething does happen around the same time baby is loosing the immunity from mum and boosting their own, getting a fever is a possibility.

What to do: Reduce the clothing on baby when they have a slight fever. You can wash baby in warm water to cool them too.


Feeding Changes:

Though short lived, baby’s appetite may be affected. The over production of saliva may make it harder to swallow, and the sensation on the gum may make it harder to suck. Sometime, baby may get frustrated as they are hungry but are finding it hard to feed.

What to do: Be patient with the baby as they feed. Allow them to take breaks as they feed. Feeding them with a bottle that has a cooled tit is quite helpful, or using a cool teething ring before the feed.


Loose Poop:

Your baby may get a bout or too of loose poop. As the teeth develop, the body produces an enzyme that helps break the gum. The baby does swallow this and together with the excess saliva, baby may have a loose poop. This is also thought to be the same reason why some babies get a rush on their nappy area.

What to do: Change the baby as soon as they poop to prevent the rush. Continue breastfeeding the baby.


Teething stimulates over production of saliva hence the drool. The drooling predisposes your baby to a rash on the chin and/or upper chest and a slight cough as they have to keep swallowing the saliva more than they usually do.

What to do: Use a bib often. It will be used to dry saliva from baby’s chin and keep his chest dry, this helps prevent the rush. Ensure baby burps after feeding.


Facial Itch:

The nerves that supply the gum, ears and cheeks do meet at some point. An irritation of the nerves on one area may be felt in another area. It is no wonder that a teething baby may pull their ears and scratch their cheeks. This combined with the earlier mentioned slight cough due to over production of saliva is often misinterpreted as a throat infection.

What to do: Cool the gum, apply a warm cloth on the cheeks and wipe the ears. Chewing on the teething ring moves the ears and cheeks and calms the itchy feeling.


The next time you and your baby (then child) are going through a phase where teeth are concerned, it will either be fun…as they remove their teeth or you will get help from a dentist.


Happy Teething:-)

Lucy Muchiri

  2 Responses to “Baby’s Teething: What To Do”

  1. Very helpful Lucy. Thanks.

  2. How and what do you use to brush baby’s teeth at 8 months?

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