4 Teething Myths & the Truth Behind Them

4 Teething Myths & the Truth Behind Them
Posted on 02/28/2020

4 teething myths featured imageIf you are the parent of a baby, then it is important to prepare for the teething process. While the average baby begins teething around the age of six months, a baby's teeth can begin to emerge much sooner than this. In fact, it is not unheard of for a baby to begin teething at the age of just two months. 

Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions about the baby teething process. These myths can leave many new parents confused or, even worse, lead to a baby being accidentally harmed during the teething process. 

Read on to learn about four common teething myths and the truth behind them. 

1. Primary Teeth Erupt in a Random Order

Many new parents think that a baby's primary teeth erupt in a random order. The truth is that most baby's primary teeth erupt in a specific order that rarely varies from child to child. After you learn the typical eruption sequence, you can spot the early signs of teething more quickly and easily by checking for teething signs in the location where you know the next teeth will likely erupt.

The first sign that a primary tooth will soon erupt is swollen gum tissue where the tooth will soon emerge. Some children also develop small bubbles on their gums called eruption cysts before a tooth emerges. 

The primary teeth that typically emerge first are the lower central incisors, which are the two lower front teeth, followed by the upper central incisors. The lateral incisors typically erupt next, then the canine teeth. Finally, two sets of molars will erupt. Primary teeth typically erupt in pairs. 

2. Teething Causes a Wide Array of Physical Health Symptoms

Many parents believe that their children develop a wide array of physical health problems while teething. Just a few of these purported teething symptoms include diarrhea, high fevers, rashes on the body, and a runny nose.

The truth is that some studies have shown that babies can develop a slight fever on the day a tooth officially erupts, but other symptoms are likely simply signs of illness that happen to occur while a baby is also teething. 

Along with the fact that babies catch more viruses, especially colds, than adults due to their still-developing immune systems, teething babies often place many objects in their mouths when their designated teething items are not handy. These items are often covered in bacteria and viruses that can cause illness. 

In addition, the health-protecting antibodies a mother passes to her baby while the baby is in the womb also begin to lose their effectiveness around the time a baby reaches six months of age, which is around the age the average baby begins to teethe. 

3. All Teething Products on the Market Are Safe

There are a wide array of teething products on the market today. Unfortunately, many parents believe that if a teething product is available in the United States, it is safe for their baby to use. However, this is far from the truth, and there are actually many unsafe teething products on the market. 

The FDA warns parents to never provide their babies with teething necklaces. These necklaces are often made of amber, which is hardened tree resin that is purported to soothe gums as it releases succinic acid.

Not only has succinic acid never been proven to soothe inflamed gum tissue, but these necklaces are also choking and strangulation hazards. Your child could bite pieces of amber off the necklace and choke on these amber pieces, and every necklace, no matter what it is made of, poses a baby strangulation hazard. 

While liquid-filled teething rings are typically not hazardous, they can become hazardous if you freeze them instead of chilling them in the refrigerator. A frozen teething ring could burn your child's gums if held into contact with gum tissue too long. In addition, old teething rings and those produced outside of the United States could also contain liquid that is contaminated with hazardous bacteria. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises all parents to stick to firm rubber teething rings to avoid the hazards of fluid-filled rings. 

4. Mouth-Numbing Products Are Safe for Children

While numerous mouth-numbing products on the market are designed to numb the mouths of teething babies, these products should never be used. The numbing agents in these products are often lidocaine or benzocaine.

If a baby swallows too much lidocaine, they can develop lidocaine poisoning that can lead to brain damage, seizures, or heart problems. If a child consumes too much benzocaine, they can develop an often fatal blood condition called methaemoglobinaemia. 

To avoid the hazards of these topical teething gels and liquids, skip them completely and provide your baby with children's acetaminophen if you suspect their pain is too difficult to manage with teething rings and gum massage alone. 

Forget these four teething myths, and use the truth behind them to help you during your child's teething process. Contact the caring staff at Dentistry for Children & Adolescents to schedule your child's next dental exam today.

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Dentistry for Children & Adolescents

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