Oh, the many joys of being a parent. Watching your baby grow day-by-day and week-by-week can be truly breathtaking. Along with the passing of those days, weeks and months comes the arrival of many milestones including rolling over, crawling, walking and saying those first few words. But there’s also another exciting element to watching your baby grow up, and that’s the emergence of teeth! But sometimes, there are situations where your baby’s pearly whites are nowhere to be found. So, what’s the reason for baby teeth coming in late?
What Causes Baby Teeth to Come in Late?
In reality, there are many reasons why baby teeth may be coming in late.
Genetically speaking, late teething can be just as much of a hereditary thing than anything else. The result? If your teeth came in late as a child, it may just be that you’re little one is taking after you.
Then, of course, there are other, more concerning reasons that might be the cause, such as fibrosis which causes thicker gums, lack of nutrition, injuries, any prescribed medications your child may be using and more that could be causing a delay in the rate at which your child’s teeth come in.
It could also simply be that your baby is marching to the beat of his or her own little drum… in which case the late teething isn’t an issue.
Is Late Teething Normal?
Although there can be serious reasons that a child experiences delayed teething, late teething is completely normal.
For one, most parents who describe their children as “late teethers” don’t have late teethers at all. In truth, their little one’s teeth may have just come in late compared to the other children around them.
While there are certainly guidelines by which we can compare our children to make sure they are growing and developing on the right track, these guidelines are indeed just that, and aren’t to be looked at as standard for every child.
So…is it normal for a 1 year old to have no teeth?
Well, yes and no.
If your child reaches the age of 15 months and still hasn’t had a tooth erupt, there might be some cause for concern. See your local paediatrician to help rule out causes and dig deeper into the reasons why your child has not yet sprouted his or her first tooth.
What Age Do Babies Get Teeth?
Generally speaking, children start sprouting their first teeth around the ages of 6-9 months, and some do it even as early as 3 months. Again, this has a lot to do with the baby his or herself, as well as with genetics, but early teething isn’t at all uncommon.
As previously stated, some little ones won’t grow their first set of chompers until they are around 11 months old, and for a select few, even after a year old. So, if you’ve got an 18 month old teething, we feel for you… just be sure to provide plenty of hugs, teethers and cold healthy snacks to help ease the pain.
Age of Teething
For the sake of reference, it can be helpful to know approximately what age baby teeth come in so that you can be aware of when they might be trying to poke through. By making yourself knowledgeable about the average teething age, you can proactively anticipate your baby’s needs when their teeth finally do erupt.
The following is the average teething ages for each type of tooth:
Beginning with the lower teeth:
- Central Incisor 6-10 months
- Lateral Incisor 7-16 months
- Canine 16-23 months
- Molar #1 12-18 months
- Molar #2 20-31 months
For the upper teeth:
- Central Incisor 7-12 months
- Lateral Incisor 9-13 months
- Canine 16-22 months
- Molar #1 13-19 months
- Molar #2 25-22 months
When Should I Worry About My Baby Not Having Teeth?
As previously noted, late teething can be an indicator of a slew of things, and you’ll want to start talking to paediatricians about it if you don’t see any teeth pop through your child’s gums by 15 months.
Though typically not a cause for worry, late teething that goes beyond 18 months can impact your child’s health in a variety of ways including contributing to crooked permanent teeth, the formation of cysts, speech delays, deformed jawbone and more.
Of course, none of these outcomes are a given, and in many cases, most children that teethe late will be a-OK. But it’s always better to err on the safe side by talking to your paediatrician about it, just in case.
A Quick Note: Babies and toddlers need teeth to be able to chew and properly digest the foods they eat. This isn’t to suggest that your child can’t eat solids if they have no teeth, but if you find that they aren’t there by the time you are ready to start solids, you will need to cook their food thoroughly and possibly puree them to ensure that your baby can chow down, safely.
How Can I Help My Baby’s Teeth Come Through?
While there aren’t many ways to actually cause your baby’s teeth to come through, there are ways that you can foster it and help relieve your baby’s pain at the same time.
The best way to help your baby’s teeth, body and mind at such a young and informative age, is to offer proper nutrition. Believe it or not, studies show that one of the reasons that teeth come in late can be contributed to the fact that the baby or toddler in question is lacking in nutrients.
Is this to say that your teething toddler isn’t getting all the nutrients they need?
Nevertheless, be sure to feed your baby plenty of breast milk or calcium-fortified formula, and a balanced diet if the baby is on solids.
Moreover, when those cute little teeth do start poking through, you can expect some tears, fussiness and general grumpy behaviour from your little one for a while.
To ease his or her distress, you may consider giving them liquid-less teether, a cold wash cloth to chew on, or a gentle massage with your own clean finger or the gum massager found in our baby grooming kit.
Steer clear of teething gels marketed to numb the pain and other over-the-counter drugs when possible, as many of these products have been shown to have adverse effects on children, especially small infants.
For more information on the signs of teething, such as baby chewing on tongue, check out our blog post.
Benefits of Late Teething
With all of the disparaging talk about the downfalls of late teething, it can help to know that there are, indeed, some benefits to teething late. For example, mums don’t have to worry about an early teether clamping down on her breasts while nursing with those brand new chompers, and won’t have to deal with the complications of having a crying and uncomfortable teether on their hands in the middle of the night…or at least, not yet.
Everything Will Happen In Time
All in all, whether it is teething or waiting for your little one to take his or her first steps, be sure to be patient with your baby. Try to enjoy the present moments and not be too dead set on what “should” be happening for your little one, right now. In time, we’re sure those pearly whites will pop though, and when they do, we’re sure you’ll love that new toothy-smile as much as you did the gummy one. And be sure to get your little one a toothbrush… they’ll need it sooner than you may think!
In the meantime, celebrate the successes and milestones your little one has already met, and remember, if your little one is nearing the age of 15 months with still no signs of teething, always contact your local paediatrician to get to the heart of the issue.
Looking for tips on weaning your baby? Check out our post on getting rid of pacifier at night.