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Don’t Give Aspirin To Teething Babies — Elusiyan


In this interview, a consultant paediatrician at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife,  Osun State, Dr. Jerome Elusiyan, talks to MOTUNRAYO JOEL about teething

Please define teething.
Teething is the process by which an infant’s first teeth (the deciduous teeth, often called ‘baby teeth’ or ‘milk teeth’) sequentially appear by emerging through the gums, typically arriving in pairs.
What should a parent expect during the teething stage?

What are the symptoms of teething?
Teething is a normal process of new teeth pushing through the gums—and this process takes time. While a baby is teething, you may notice increased saliva, drooling, and a desire to chew, mild gum pain, slightly swollen gums over the cutting tooth, changes in appetite, and low-grade fever less than 100.
Teething is a physiological (normal) process and as such it does not have any adverse symptoms other than that the teeth are growing. However, a variety of unpleasant symptoms are attributed to teething. A baby who is teething may start drooling more, resulting in a rash or irritated skin on their chin. They may become irritable, clingy and want to bite or chew on things more than usual. The baby may pull on her ears, act like their mouth hurt or they may wake up more often in the night. The cheeks may flush pink, and they may develop diarrhea or a slight fever. The most reliable signs that a baby is teething are:  the gums will look swollen and bumpy; they may be lighter or darker in colour. Sometimes a bluish-red blister (called a hematoma) appears on the gum line where the tooth is coming in, and it may bleed a little when the tooth breaks the surface. Call your doctor if the blister lasts for more than a week without the tooth poking through.
How long does the teething process take?
It usually starts from about age six months and is completed by about seven to eight years. There is however a wide range of normal duration. Most babies will follow this pattern but some babies may be earlier or start later.
Should a parent panic if her baby hasn’t released a tooth at eight months?
A baby at eight months without a single tooth may be normal even up to 10 months to one year. However, a mother who is worried about delay dentition in her baby should consult a paediatrician for evaluation. The first set of teeth is milk teeth and they usually fall off at about age six to seven years to give room for the permanent ones.
If a baby has a fever and a touch of diarrhoea, is that because he’s teething?
Teething does not cause fever. It does not cause diarrhea, neither does it cause vomiting. However, the molars that grow from when a child is 10 years could be associated with pain during eruption. It is like growing one’s fingernails.
Is refusing solids common during teething?
The answer is yes. A child’s gums will be sore for several days until the tooth breaks through the gum. They may show some decrease in appetite.”
What can a parent do to help relieve the symptoms of teething?
Here are some tips a mother can do to help her baby feel better while teething. She can use a clean finger (or cold teething ring) to gently rub the baby’s gum for about two minutes at a time. Many babies find this soothing, although they may protest at first. She could also provide safe objects for her baby to chew on, such as teething rings. If needed, give your baby an over-the-counter pain reliever that is labelled for their specific age. But aspirin shouldn’t be given.
How should one care for a child’s teeth?
Parents should use cotton wool and water to clean a baby’s teeth and may start with fluoride paste by one year. The babies should be taught to participate in the cleaning process from early ages. Teeth should be cleaned after food or at least twice daily.
Do pacifiers and thumb sucking damage teeth?
Pacifiers and thumb sucking could affect teething as it may cause malalignment and mal occlusion and should be discouraged.
When should a baby start visiting a dentist?
A baby should see a dentist at any time a problem is noticed during teething and at least once a year after the permanent teeth have erupted.
How can a mother reduce her child’s sugar intake to prevent tooth decay?
Eating too much of sugary food could affect the tooth by causing tooth caries and holes in the tooth particularly if the tooth hygiene is poor and teeth not properly cleaned after food. Babies should also not eat late into the night.
What is the best way to prevent tooth decay?
Tooth decay, called dental caries, is caused by bacteria eating away the outer protective layer (enamel) of a tooth. A parent can prevent tooth decay in young children by teaching her child to brush and floss every day. Clean your baby’s gums with a soft cloth or gauze pad to remove plaque before the first teeth come in. When a child’s first teeth come in, clean his or her teeth with a soft toothbrush. And use a very small amount (a smear) of fluoride toothpaste. When your child is age two years, it’s okay to start using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Start flossing your child’s teeth when he or she has teeth that touch each other.
If a baby was born with a tooth, does it need to be pulled out?
If a baby was born with a tooth it will need to be evaluated and may need removal to avoid accidental removal which may cause aspiration of the tooth. However, this rarely happens, but some children already have a tooth when they are born, usually a bottom front tooth. It may be a real baby tooth or an extra tooth in the set that has grown over the baby tooth and permanent tooth underneath it. This extra tooth will fall out when the baby tooth erupts. But sometimes these teeth— real or extra— need to be removed, to avoid the risk of choking if they are loose for example, so a tooth doesn’t get in the way of breastfeeding.
What is your advice on teething?
Teething symptoms can confuse parents because most of these may be caused by an ailment other than teething. Around three months of age, babies naturally begin drooling and chewing on things. At this age, they begin producing more saliva and gain the muscle control to easily get their hands and objects into their mouth. If your baby pulls on their ears, has diarrhea or runs a fever – especially if it is higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit – call your child’s physician to rule out possible illness. Teething does not typically lead to a temperature higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
In addition, don’t let your baby wear any teething necklaces because of the risk of choking. While anything cold can help to reduce the swelling and provide some comfort, do not give frozen food or teething rings to your baby. Don’t give your baby a really hard object to bite; an injury is possible with something that is too hard.
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