Teething can be a challenging time not only for babies but for parents too. It can be very difficult to witness your babies’ upset and uncomfortable. Some babies have a rough time cutting teeth, while others seem to have a much easier time of it. Teething can result in fussy, unhappy, sleep-deprived babies and parents.
Teething usually begins around 6 months of age. But it is normal for teething to start at any time between 3 and 12 months of age. By the time our children are about 3 years of age, they will have all 20 primary teeth. The lower front teeth usually make an appearance first*, while back molars are some of the last to erupt.
There are several signs that babies are teething. Note: It may be that your multiples will not all begin teething at the same time, and that is OK. Each child is different.
- Jamming hands or fists into the mouth and chewing
- Pulling at ears/rubbing face
- Swollen/puffy gums
- Biting/chewing on things; everything goes into the mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Excessive crying, trouble sleeping
- Diarrhea and/or very red buttocks
- There may or may not be a fever, even a slight one, associated with teething
- Usually after a tooth has erupted, there is a decrease in intensity of the symptoms until they cease.
Here are some suggestions to help soothe your babies:
Massage baby’s gum with a clean finger (make sure your fingernail is not too long) or a chilled, damp washcloth. You may see your baby “lean into it” as massage can help ease the discomfort.
Try a rubber, liquid-filled teething toy to relieve the need for chewing. Chilling the teething ring in the fridge can be soothing. You may need to try a couple of them before one is accepted.
Excessive drooling accompanies teething. Keep a bib on baby or you will be changing outfits every couple of hours, wipe face regularly to prevent skin irritation and change babies frequently at the first sign of any rash or irritation on their buttocks.
General Tips about Teething from Parents of Multiples
Teething babies will gnaw on just about anything they can get their hands on, so make sure that your home is thoroughly baby-proofed.
“I picked up one of the twins and he immediately sunk his mouth on my shoulder and bit down – hard! We both ended up yelling.”
Even when only one baby is teething, don’t sit him/her near each other to play as s/he can easily take their co-multiple’s hand, place it in their own mouth and chow down. One mother of boy/girl twins shared that her daughter was the biter and her son was covered with welts and red marks from being bitten, including one on his cheek.
If you are breastfeeding your babies, expect to have your nipples bitten and chewed on. It can be a surprise each time it happens.
If one, both or more babies are showing continued, extreme discomfort around teething, check with your family doctor. S/he may prescribe an infant painkiller for a time. Don’t give your babies any medications without speaking to your doctor first.
When Should my Children See a Dentist?
Generally a child should first see a dentist six months after the eruption of the first tooth. Seeing a dentist at an early age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, parents can learn how to support their children with dental hygiene, and the visit reinforces with children the importance of good oral health.**
Lynda P. Haddon