Everyone has advice when it comes to teething – along with everything else to do with a baby – but what is the real advice from the old wives’ tales? We sort the myths from the truth.
Myth: Babies get sick and have a temperature when they are teething
Not necessarily. There are plenty of people who swear that their baby gets sick just before a tooth appears, but the general consensus is that this is merely a coincidence. Mild colds and bugs are incredibly common during the first year or two in a baby’s life, so your baby might have a touch of something else while teething. Or, your baby could be putting his hands or any objects into his mouth to ease his gums, and may have picked up bacteria that way. A very slight temperature, runny nose or diarrhoea can occasionally be associated with teething, but this tends to happen on the day the tooth appears or just afterwards. Chances are, however, that any sickness is merely a coincidence – and if the sickness is bad, you should see your GP rather than dismissing it as teething.
Myth: There’s a set time for teething
Nope; babies can be unpredictable when to comes to teeth (like everything else!). The general time for the onset of teething is four to six months, but there’s no need to worry if your baby is early or late. Babies can begin teething at any time. Some babies are born with teeth (known as “natal teeth) – if these teeth are stable, there’s no need to do anything, but see your dentist if you’re worried. Similarly, there are some babies who mightn’t have any teeth at all by the time their first birthday arrives. Rest assured, it’s incredibly rare for a child to not have any teeth – but again, see your dentist if you are worried.
Myth: It doesn’t matter if baby teeth go bad
It’s essential to look after a child’s teeth, even if they are going to replaced by adult teeth. Your child not only needs good strong teeth for eating, but teeth are also important for speech development. In addition, baby teeth keep space in the jaw for adult teeth, and if a tooth is lost too early, the other teeth may drift into the area, making the space too small for the adult tooth when it eventually comes through. Remember that a child generally doesn’t get all of his adult teeth until the pre-teen years.
Myth: Teething is not painful
While teething doesn’t generally cause sickness like vomiting, diarrhoea, temperatures or stuffy noses, teething can be uncomfortable for a baby and cause some not-so-nice symptoms. Some lucky babies have no symptoms, but others can have sore gums, causing them to wake up at night and be uncomfortable during the day, especially when eating. Excessive drooling can also cause a mild rash around the mouth. Help your baby by massaging the sore gum with a clean finger or by giving her a teething ring (keep it in the fridge for added cooling power). If your baby is showing signs of being really uncomfortable, try an over-the-counter pain reliever fro the pharmacy – talk to your pharmacist first.