When babies are born, they already have most of their teeth under their gums. The first tooth usually begins to erupt by the age of six months, although the exact age can vary from one baby to another. The first two teeth to come in are usually in the bottom middle, followed by the four in the upper middle. Most children have a complete set of 20 baby teeth by the time they turn 3.
Some children do not get their teeth at the same time as their peers. This can be caused by several factors. If a child does not have any teeth by the age of 18 months, he or she should be taken to a pediatric dentist for an evaluation.
Reasons for Late Teething in Babies
Some children are just late bloomers, but if that isn’t the case, here are a few other reasons for late teething in babies-
1. Hereditary Factors
If delayed teething runs in the family, then it should come as no surprise that your child follows suit as well. Both your side of the family as well as your spouses can be responsible, for a delay in the appearance of your child’s first tooth. Ask your parents or relatives if you or they had the same issue and if yes, then this could be one of the reasons why your child has a delay in teething.
2. Poor Nutrition
If your baby is not getting enough breast milk, or if the baby formula is not good enough to provide all the nutrients that your baby needs, then it will lead to delayed teething. Breast milk contains calcium, and your baby needs this for the growth and development of his teeth and bones. Baby formula usually has nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and D, which helps with growth, repair, immunity, and overall development of your child. Calcium is especially important for strong and healthy teeth. But if the baby formula you use does not have all of these nutrients or if your baby is not consuming enough, then it could cause a delayed teeth eruption in infants.
3. Hypothyroidism and Teething
Hypothyroidism is a condition when the thyroid glands don’t produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormones for the body to function normally. It usually affects the heart rate, metabolism, and body temperature. If your baby has an underactive thyroid, then it is most likely that he has a delay in hitting several milestones like walking, teething, and even talking.
Complications of Delayed Teething
- A major complication of delayed teething is that the permanent teeth might develop in a crooked way if the baby teeth develop late.
- Baby teeth are also required for your baby to be able to chew his food properly. The inability to chew solid foods is another complication of delayed teething.
- Sometimes, the permanent set of teeth appears along with the delayed baby teeth, causing two rows of teeth.
- Delayed teething can cause cavities or tooth decay to appear in your child.
When to Consult a Doctor
Firstly, check with your parents and relatives to make sure that delayed teething does not run in the family. If it doesn’t, and if your baby is more than 15 months old, then you should consult a doctor. Check for other signs like weight gain (when your baby isn’t eating), delayed overall development, abnormal metabolism, and lethargy. A lot of people consider late teething a sign of intelligence, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Sometimes, children with a high IQ are early bloomers, while at other times, they’re late bloomers.
Your baby’s teeth coming in late can cause you to worry. Observe your child, and look out for any abnormal signs like hoarse crying, constipation, or an abnormal heart rate. Go through your family history and keep a note of relatives who started teething late. If your response to all of this is in the affirmative, then your child is probably showing signs of delayed teething. Consult your doctor if this is the case.
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