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Why Do Babies Go Through Teething?

Have you ever given thought to the teething stage in infants? We all learn to accept it as a phase that they just go through and that they need soft or rubber toys to chew on, but have you really sat down and wondered why this all happens?

Before we talk about human babies, though, let’s go back and talk about some animals that do this.

First off, have you ever had a hamster or a guinea pig? If not, you may not know too much about maintaining good dental health in rodents, but if you have, you know where I’m going with this. Basically, most rodents (some more than others) have incisors that grow indefinitely. When it comes down to it, their front teeth never stop growing.

What does this mean? Well, they chew on wooden things. Plastic things. Whatever they can get their teeth on, they chew. It’s the only way to make sure that their teeth don’t grow so long that they can’t eat anymore (which is truly a sad sight to behold). But they chew and chew and then chew some more in order to file down their incisors and not let them get out of hand.

Now, let’s switch to an animal we know even more intimately. That would be dogs.

Think of your dog when it was a puppy. What happened for a good few months of its life when it was growing up, expending all the energy it could, and even learning things about the world? Well, one of the most memorable times in a puppy’s life for most owners is when they would chew on everything.

Teething stages happen in puppies because their teeth are growing in. They’re not used to the feeling of teeth growing in their mouth, especially when they’re sharp and the tooth’s eruption hurts the gums. What’s a natural response to this? They chew on toys. They chew on shoes. They chew on furniture. They chew on just about everything they can to help pacify the pain they’re experiencing.

Now let’s switch the focus back to infants. It’s no wonder that human babies want to do the same thing when their first teeth are coming in because it simply hurts. What’s the best way they can help alleviate that pain? Chewing on toys and cloths and things they shouldn’t! It all boils down to their response to pain and the only way they know how to handle it.

Pulling Your Child’s Baby Teeth

Apparently there have been some videos going around of kids tying one end of string to their loose baby teeth and the other to a doorknob. Then, as you would guess, they slam the door and the tooth pops right out.

I never knew this was an Internet phenomenon until today. I mean, of course I’ve heard the old tales of people doing this, but I always question its veracity. But here we have it, videos all over Youtube of these things happening and parents narrating the videos.

I’m kind of at a loss for words. I didn’t think this was a safe way to extract a baby tooth, but I guess it’s working out just fine and people don’t care how they extract their kid’s teeth?

Here’s the thing. People do this just fine and it’s all good and well. But you shouldn’t watch one of these videos and then go tie a string to your child’s somewhat loose tooth unless it’s ready to come out.

So how do you know of it’s ready? First off, it should be a baby tooth and not a permanent tooth. If a permanent tooth is loose, something is wrong and you should contact your dentist ASAP.

But how loose is what loose should be? Pain is something that is particular to someone and it can range differently for other people. So, it’s not exactly up to you, the parent, to determine if it’s ready. Ask your child how much it hurts. Let them show you how much it wiggles. If you see that it’s wiggling quite a bit and on its last hinges and they don’t note much pain, then yes, the tooth is ready to be pulled. And if anything, let them do the pulling and yanking. They’ll know what they can handle and what they can’t.

So how should you extract it? I mean, it’s fine to do what the videos are doing so long as your child is the one wanting to do it and they realize there may be a twinge of pain as the door is slammed. The most important thing to consider is what they want and how much pain they can handle. These videos are not for your pleasure of posting and watching the views skyrocket. No, this should be a them thing through and through. If they back out at the last second and just want you to pull it, respect that and give them a hand. You’re the adult in this situation.