Paediatric Dental

Teething in children; a step by step guide with Dr. Mercy Oira

Hello Mommy and Daddy,

During my engagement with patients at the clinic, I am often asked about teething in children. Let me try to answer these questions about teething as a dentist

When do teeth start erupting (growing)?

Teeth in children start to erupt between 5-6 months after birth while permanent teeth start at 5-6 years. Some children grow later while for others, it happens earlier. Note that each child is unique with their own individual milestone.

How long do they take to fully grow?

Teeth take about 6-9 months to fully grow in structure.

Are there any associated symptoms during teething in children?

Yes, symptoms vary from one baby to another during teething:

  • Fever
  • Redness of the surrounding gum
  • Irritability
  • Baby constantly scratching the gum
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor appetite
  • Drooling, which can cause a rash on the face
  • Sleeping patterns can change

It is important to note that some of these symptoms go away on their own and don’t require medication. Symptoms like diarrhea are associated with the way the baby puts everything in the mouth and may require review by a doctor.

Don’t Miss to Read: Oral Hygiene Tips for Your Child

Are there substances that can affect the teeth during teething in children?

  • Salty water (has high fluoride content which affects the tooth structure resulting in a condition called fluorosis)
  • Low calcium levels (babies with less calcium tend to have weaker teeth and may need supplements )
  • Sugary diet (feeding the baby with sugary foods can cause decay of the teeth even before they fully erupt)

baby Tooth Brush dental care for ChildrenWhen should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?

  • As soon as they start growing their first tooth, use a soft cloth and warm salty water to clean their teeth
  • Gradually introduce a baby toothbrush and a tiny toothpaste as the child grows eg at 1-year
  • Brush your teeth together with your child and make it a habit every morning and evening before you sleep

What should I know about plastic teeth (neonatal teeth or natal teeth)

Plastic teeth are those a baby is born with or grow within the first months of life.


Extraction of the teeth by a qualified dentist or they can be left and observed. However, most parents panic; so we opt to remove plastic teeth especially if they interfere with breastfeeding.

I hope you now have a better understanding of teething in kids. Feel free to ask any other query that has not been covered in this post.

Featured Photo: Zarbee’s Naturals.

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