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Tooth growth in children
Tooth growth in babies usually begins from the fifth to seventh month. As a rule, the eruption of the milk teeth proceeds without complications. However, accompanying complaints such as gum pain, mild fever, loss of appetite and general malaise often occur. For the parents, this usually means little sleep and an exhausting time. To make teething easier for children, there are numerous naturopathic treatments that can alleviate complaints of tooth growth.
Quick help for painful tooth eruption
The first tooth eruption in children is often associated with pain. This can be a stress test for the little ones but also for the parents. A number of proven home remedies can make this phase easier. Biting around on a chilled teether or on chilled carrots or apple pieces, for example, helps to relieve the pain. Natural products with chamomile and myrrh can be applied to the affected area and gently massaged in. This promotes blood circulation and has an anti-inflammatory effect. If the pain does not improve, a pediatrician can also recommend pain-relieving ointments.
Tooth growth - a brief overview
For some, an ordeal is unproblematic for others. Tooth growth can sometimes be a burden for children and parents, even if this is a natural process that is usually not the cause of illnesses. Here is a brief overview of tooth growth and the possible complaints associated with it:
- definition: The tooth growth describes the development of the teeth, which ranges from the systems in the embryonic stage through the formation of the milk teeth to the finished development of the permanent dentition.
- Milk teeth: The deciduous dentition is complete around the age of three. It consists of ten teeth in each of the upper and lower jaw: four milk incisors, two milk canines and four milk molars.
- Permanent dentition: The permanent teeth of an adult, including the wisdom teeth, each consist of 16 teeth in the upper and lower jaw: four incisors, two canines, four small molars, four large molars and two wisdom teeth.
- Teeth eruption symptoms: Babies often show signs of discomfort as a result of tooth eruption. Symptoms such as mild fever, loss of appetite, increased salivation, increased excitability, sleep disorders and rash on the face can occur.
- diagnosis: Tooth growth is a natural process and usually does not require medical attention. A doctor should monitor the development of the teeth at regular intervals in order to be able to intervene if necessary. If the pain is acute, a pediatrician can be consulted.
- Treatment for breakthrough pain: Chilled teethers, pieces of carrot or apple, as well as gum massages with natural chamomile and myrrh agents can alleviate the pain. A pediatrician can recommend other anti-inflammatory or analgesic ointments and gels.
Tooth growth is the development of the teeth (odontogenesis) from the formation of their systems in the embryonic stage through the formation and eruption of the deciduous teeth to the permanent teeth. However, the term is often only applied to milk teeth and permanent teeth.
The development of the teeth
Tooth growth and development begin around the sixth week of pregnancy, when a tooth ridge is formed from the oral cavity epithelium in the later upper and lower jaw. In the course of the development of the child in the womb, the milk teeth gradually form over various stages, which erupt within the first two to three years of life and are fully developed. Usually the externally visible tooth growth begins with the first two teeth in the lower jaw. If all milk teeth are present, the toddler has ten teeth in the upper and lower jaw, which are gradually replaced by the permanent teeth at the age of six to nine years. This process takes place in two phases: In the first phase (six to nine years), the first permanent teeth break through behind the row of milk teeth. The milk teeth gradually fall out and the lateral and central incisors erupt. In the second phase (nine to twelve years), the canines and the so-called premolars (molars, which have a deciduous tooth predecessor) erupt. Then the other large molars break through. The whitening teeth, the last permanent teeth, do not break through until the age of 18.
The children's dentition
The milk teeth consist of 20 teeth and are usually fully developed at the age of two to three years. It contains ten teeth in the upper and lower jaw - four milk incisors, two milk canines and four milk molars. Usually, the lower incisors break through first after about six months. The upper ones follow a little later. When the child is around 18 months old, the first milk canines show up. From this age or two years, the first molars often break through. In most cases, all milk teeth are visible at the age of three.
From the first to the last tooth
The following information is to be understood rather as empirical values and can vary greatly in terms of sequence and timing for the individual. In most cases, this is not a cause for concern. The growth process should be controlled by regular visits from a doctor, who can intervene in time if there is an abnormal development. The following table shows the age from which teeth break as expected.
- Around six months: The first central incisors break through.
- Around nine months: The lateral milk incisors become visible.
- Around 18 months: The first milk canines show up.
- Between the 18th month and two years: The first milk molars prevail.
- After the third year of life: All milk teeth have erupted.
- From the age of six: The first large molar tooth breaks through.
- From the age of seven: The central incisors are replaced by permanent incisors.
- From eight years old: The permanent lateral incisors break through.
- From the age of nine: The permanent canines and the permanent small molars in the lower jaw prevail.
- From ten years old: The remaining small molars in the upper jaw become visible.
- From the age of eleven: The permanent canines of the upper jaw and the second small molars in the upper and lower jaw show up.
- From twelve years old: The second permanent large molars break through.
- At the age of 15: The permanent teeth are completely visible.
- From 18 years old: The wisdom teeth break through. This process can drag on until the age of 25 or longer.
Proper care of the first teeth
The professional association of pediatricians recommends cleaning the first baby teeth regularly with a cotton swab, as these can already affect the health and growth of the teeth that follow. Milk teeth have a softer tooth enamel than the permanent teeth and are particularly susceptible to tooth decay. Therefore, parents should start children's dental care as early as possible. When four to five teeth are broken, a special baby toothbrush should be used for cleaning. From around the age of three, parents can teach their children how to brush their teeth themselves. The brushing of the teeth should still be supported by a parent at first. Children's toothpaste should be used, which has either no or only a very low fluoride content.
Teeth eruption symptoms
The breakthrough and growth of the first teeth in the child usually go without complications. Babies that teething but are often fussy and show general signs of malaise, ranging from fever to diarrhea. Parents often complain about particularly short nights during this time.
The first signs of the breakthrough of milk teeth in babies around the fifth to seventh month of life are strong salivation and "biting" into objects. Many children then cry more often and show a reddened bottom. The gums appear sore and reddish in the mouth. Fever or episodes of fever, vomiting and diarrhea with abdominal pain can also occur, although strong symptoms are usually not directly related to tooth eruption, as this is a natural growth process and not a disease.
Diagnosing problems with tooth growth
If parents find that their baby suffers from accompanying complaints while the teeth break, a visit to the pediatrician or alternative practitioner is usually sufficient. A dentist only needs to be consulted in rare cases, for example if there are no signs of eruption of the deciduous teeth and developmental disorders may have already occurred in the teeth or the first teeth look unusual or sick.
During the examination, the child's mouth is first examined and, if necessary, carefully scanned. In addition, questions are asked about the exact complaints to rule out another cause of the problems. If there are doubts about the complete formation of the milk teeth, an X-ray image can provide information about the tooth growth in the upper and lower jaw.
Treatment options for tooth growth
Home remedies and naturopathic remedies are very effective for the most common complaints that babies suffer from during tooth growth, such as tooth or gum pain and general malaise. A cooling teether relieves the pain in the mouth. Natural products with chamomile and myrrh also have an anti-inflammatory effect and can be dripped onto the affected areas and then gently massaged in. In this way, blood circulation to the gums is promoted and tooth eruption is facilitated. To massage the gums, the children can also chew on a carrot or dry bread.
Regular prevention checks
The guidelines of the Federal Joint Committee for the early detection of diseases in children regulate the ten early detection examinations that should be carried out by default in the first six years of life. According to the guideline, the first tooth inspection should take place within the U5 examination, which takes place between the fifth and eighth month of life. From this point onwards, each subsequent standard screening examination (i.e. U6, U7, U7a, U8 and U9) should include a check of the teeth.
Whatever you can try
The following tips are not scientifically proven, but are used in many ways. Amber chains from stone medicine are also said to help with toothache by releasing minimal amounts of succinic acid to the skin, thus accelerating wound healing and helping to fight infections. In homeopathy, depending on the type of accompanying complaints during toothing, chamomilla, creosote (especially for diarrhea), magnesium phosphoricum, calcium phosphoricum, Belladonna and podophyllum (especially for diarrhea) can be used. (ag; vb; updated on December 24, 2018)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- Website of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, (accessed August 5, 2019), KZBV
- Website of the professional association of pediatricians e.V., (accessed August 5, 2019), bvkj
- Guideline of the Federal Joint Committee on the Early Detection of Diseases in Children (Children's Directive), Federal Joint Committee, (accessed on 05.08.2019), GBA
- Thomas Weber: Memorix Zahnmedizin, Thieme Verlag, 5th edition, 2017