Teething can be an exciting time for little ones… and their parents — new food on the horizon and a sign of healthy growth. Cutting teeth can also be a challenging time for parents and their babies due to sleepless nights, painful chompers and trying to differentiate ailments from teething symptoms.
Contrary to popular belief, ailments such as ear infections, high fevers and flu symptoms are not at all linked to teething. So for babies who experience these things during their teething, they're unrelated to the teething itself.
Healthline suggests “teething syndrome — or simply ‘teething’ — is a normal process that infants go through as their teeth break, or cut, through their gums. According to the American Dental Association, babies start teething when they are between 4 and 7 months old. By the time a child is 3, they should have a first or primary set of 20 teeth.”
While this syndrome is considered a normal developmental process, there are symptoms to watch out for. From irritability, crying and loss of appetite, to drooling, chewing on solid objects and the inability to sleep — red, swollen, sore and tender gums are also a good indication that teething is eminent.
Though these symptoms may seem common place for all little teethers, we're going to explore the things that can go wrong with teething. From early tooth decay to other orthodontal problems that could cause pain now, or pain later. Here's a peak at what some little biters are going through right now.
12 Hyperdontia And Extra Teeth
Also referred to as supernumerary teeth, Hyperdontia is a condition where a child develops extra teeth outside of the regualr number of teeth their supposed to get. These teeth can develop in any area of the mouth and can affect any part of the dental area.
So, how many is too many? According to Supernumerary Teeth, this condition is more common when children develop their permanent teeth compared to their baby teeth. Children are more likely to have a single extra tooth, but in cases where there are multiple teeth parents should see an orthodontist.
Boys and girls have an equal chance of having extra teeth when they develop their baby teeth, some babies are even born with teeth. But boys are more likely than girls to develop extra teeth when their adult teeth start coming in.
Don’t panic if you see additional teeth cutting through, parents may consider contacting the dentist to monitor the situation.
11 Bottle Mouth, AKA Tooth Decay
Many babies become accustomed to a nightly feeding. Some parents allow their little ones to feast on a nightly bottle in their crib or nurse before and during the night. The biggest problem with this practice is that babies who get used to going to bed with a bottle will eventually develop tooth decay. The decay can vary depending on the child's dental health and genetic makeup.
When too much sugar coats the teeth or pools behind the front teeth as the child falls asleep, this can eventually cause tooth decay, because the bacteria starts to grow on the enamel and cause damage to the baby's teeth.
Another name for this condition is ‘bottle mouth.’ To reduce the risk of tooth decay, some parents may consider offering water or a non-sugary beverage in the evening to help keep growing teeth strong and healthy.
10 Thumb And Finger Sucking
Thumb sucking is a common soothing habit that children develop as babies and continue to do into their toddler years. All this thumb sucking can put pressure on the teeth in the front and cause teeth to grow crookedly or to grow misaligned. In the future a thumb sucker may require braces or a retainer to straighten their teeth.
Retainers and braces can be expensive! There are low cost solutions to help babies stop sucking on their fingers and thumbs. From nail polish like remedies to using pacifiers or other distraction methods. This behavior can be comforting when babies are young, even cute — but as they grow, thumb and finger sucking can impede speech and affect the healthy growth and placement of teeth.
If you're not sure whether the thumb sucking is problematic for your baby or to, ask your pediatrician.
9 Tongue Thrusting
One reason that babies start thumb sucking is because of their need to thrust their tongues. It's something they do when their in the beginning of their development stages. You'll notice your baby sticking their tongue in and out of their mouth, this is the tongue thrust. It's one way babies explore their world and learn.
While some parents do not even notice tongue thrusting, as it’s most commonly done while sleeping, the results can be a 'buck toothed' appearance which may cause problems later on in life. These babies turned children may become self-conscious about their crooked teeth from teasing and they may have problems with their speech as well.
This is another condition that may need orthodontal treatment later on in life, again most likely by braces or a retainer in order to help teeth adjust back to the proper position.
8 Bruxism (Teeth Gridning Or Clenching)
The medical name for teeth grinding or clenching is Bruxism. Parents will hear the baby grinding their baby teeth together. Some parents compare the grinding of their baby's teeth to the buzzing of bees, race cars and even a chainsaw.
Most children outgrow this habit all on their own, but if there's a medical reason behind their teeth grinding, or they don't grow out of the grinding all on their own, ask your doctor for their medical opinion. If children persist in grinding their teeth, they will grind down their teeth.
One way dentists fix grinding is with a rubber or silicone mouth piece that rests over the teeth to prevent the teeth from wearing down. In some cases the mouth piece has to be worn indefinitely, but more often than not children grow out of this habit.
7 Gum Disease
Also referred to as infected gums, gum disease can be a very painful periodontal disease in infants. The most common forms of gum disease including gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis starts off as a red swollen gums and a sticky coating on the teeth. In some cases the gingivitis can cause the gums to bleed.
If gingivitis isn't treated it can turn into prediodontal disease. This can result in bone loss and the permanent loss of some of their teeth. In order to prevent gum disease, parents should be brushing their children's teeth until they are 7 years old (that includes their gums), introducing flossing early and visiting a dentist regularly can all help your children's dental health.
Eating healthy can also improve your child's dental health. Soda and candy can rot teeth and encourage bacteria growth that causes gingivitis.
6 Pacifiers Can Cause Problems
Pacifiers and soothers can have both negative and positive impacts on teething. Soothers can help babies sleep and self sooth. According to Jane Soxman babies who use soothers to sleep do not sleep more deeply than those who don't use them at bed time. It's believed that the sucking motion makes it easier for babies who use pacifiers to be aroused from deep sleep.
However, parents should be aware of the negative effects of pacifier sucking on an infant's oral health. Children aged 2 or less whose developing teeth are misaligned can be corrected after 6 months of stopping pacifier use. Pacifiers have even been linked to acute middle ear infections because the constant sucking can allow ear secretions into the open the auditory tubes that open due to the sucking motion.
5 Blood Blisters
As the teeth start growing towards the gum line they can cause bruising along the gum line. This can cause some discoloration, but it's not painful at all for the baby. The best way to treat these blisters is by allowing the baby to suck on a cold cloth. The blisters go away once the tooth comes through the gum.
This is a normal part of the teething process, but for some kids the discoloration of their gums can cause their parents to freak out. Some baby's gums turn somewhere between purple and blue. So if your little one's gums start to change color, don't freak out, offer your baby a cold treat instead.
Whatever you do, don't pick at the blister or attempt to puncture it. Rupturing the blister could cause an infection. Also, if the blister doesn't go away after the teeth come through, then contact your doctor.
4 Teething Rashes
Sorry Grandma, but teething does not cause a rash.
While teething itself doesn't cause the skin to erupt in a rash it can contribute to a rash. A baby who already has a rash might wind up with a worse rash if the baby's drooling causes the rash to spread or become worse. Drool can collect in the neck folds or even spread across the chest. Baby drool mostly contributes to a rash around the mouth.
Keeping the mouth area dry using teething bibs and bandanas can help reduce the severity of the rash. Teething rashes don’t just occur around the mouth. Drool often runs down into the neck and chest area and chunky babies with rolls for days, can be more susceptible to these rashes. Teething rashes are itchy and can easily become chapped, cracked or blistered.
3 Natal Teeth
Babies born with teeth, yikes this sounds like a nightmare! this phenomena is commonly referred to as Natal Teeth is rare, occurring in one out of 3,000 infants according to the National Health Institute. And these little teeth can be sharp and painful, for both babies and their nursing mothers.
For some babies, their natal teeth appear in the first few weeks after birth. These teeth aren't problematic for the baby, unless they stop the baby from successfully breastfeeding or cause the baby to choke. In these cases consult your doctor to see what the best way to treat natal teeth is.
These teeth are most common in the lower gums with little root structure, so they are often wiggly and in some instances need to be surgically removed.
2 Delayed Teething
Normally babies begin their teething process after they turn 3-7 months. Some babies don't begin to teeth until much later than the normal period. Late teething is hereditary, so if mom or dad were late teethers, there's a good chance their baby will be too. You might want to ask your parents or in-laws about it if you're curious.
So if your baby is almost one years old and hasn't cracked a tooth yet, don't worry, those teeth are coming, they're just taking a little longer than normal. For breastfeeding women, late teething might just be a godsend as babies who teeth early could wreak havoc on their mother's breast as they learn how to breastfeed with their new teeth.
In addition to being hereditary, hypothyroidism and poor nutrition can also be attributed to delayed teething.
1 Early Childhood Caries
Early childhood caries is decayed, missing or filled teeth in a children 71 months of age or younger due to bottle rot. ECC is more common in children than asthma. By the age of 5, 40% of children will have dental caries, and 8% of children of the age of 2 will have some form of decay. If caries are left untreated it can lead to carious lesions.
These can disrupt the growth and development of the child's teeth. These can cause pain and possible life threatening infections. Poor diet and bacteria can cause ECC, so be sure to feed your baby healthy foods and to be vigilant with their dental health. In some cases ECC is hereditary, mother's with infected saliva will have children who are susceptible for ECC.
Parents should get in the habit of practicing good oral hygiene from a young age.