Though many folks don’t know it, an infants teeth actually start developing months before birth. In fact, tooth buds begin appearing in the fetus by the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy. By the time the baby is born, all 20 of the primary teeth that will be sprouting over the next 2 1/2 years are already present and accounted for in the jawbone. Usually those first teeth start pushing for daylight about four to eight months after birth. Baby’s gums will become swollen and tender and your little bundle of joy will become irritable and restless.

It might all come to next to nothing or your baby could range from a little fussy to down right grumpy. So here are some things to help

Cool those choppers – Chewing on teething rings, particularly those you can put i the refrigerator and keep cold, work very well and feel good on babys gums. My nephew preferred to chew on a clean, cold, wet washcloth. We kept several on hand and rotated them between his mouth, the washing machine and keeping them cool

Gauze those gums – You should probably start cleaning your baby’s mouth before the teeth appear. A small gauze pad or even a soft baby washcloth can be wrapped around your forefinger, lightly moistened, and used to massage the gum. This will remove bacteria and gets the baby used to having someone poke around in his mouth. That way when the first tooth comes in you can begin gentle brushing without the trauma.

Tasty teethers – a good sized chunk of apple, a carrot, these things taste good and will provide incentive for the baby to bite down and help the tooth work it’s way through the gum. Just make sure the pieces are big enough they cant be inserted all the way into the mouth and choked on. Or you could wrap them in a damp cloth, flavor comes through but no chunks. My son about age 18 months preferred teething on beef jerky!

Pain meds – Childrens Tylenol or a topical anesthetic that is available over the counter work well. Use as directed