One of the most anticipated milestones in a child's life is his or her first tooth. Although baby teeth typically start erupting when children are 4 to 6 months old, sometimes it can take a longer for them to appear. Here are two reasons why your child may experience delayed tooth eruption and how to handle the situation.
A common reason for delayed tooth eruption is the baby is not getting enough of the nutrients needed to produce healthy teeth. Babies need an adequate dose of vitamins A, C, and D as well as calcium and phosphorous on a daily basis. However, the child may not be receiving the right amounts because the food doesn't contain enough of these nutrients, the child is not absorbing the vitamins, or he or she is not being fed often enough to obtain the minimum recommended daily levels.
This can be the result of food allergies or digestion problems. For instance, some babies are lactose intolerant and cannot properly digest milk. Another issue may be the mother's breast milk doesn't contain enough vitamins because the woman isn't getting those nutrients in her diet. The food itself may be the culprit, as is the case with families who feed babies non-traditional items such as nut milk (e.g. almond milk).
Regardless of the cause, a baby will display other symptoms of nutritional deficiency such as:
- Dry skin and hair
- Frequent illness
- Excessive weight
- Development of rickets (from a vitamin D and/or calcium deficiency)
- Bleeding gums (from a vitamin C deficiency)
The simple fix for this issue is to determine why your baby is not getting enough nutrients and make the appropriate adjustments to his or her diet.
Another cause of delayed tooth eruption is disease, and hypothyroidism is often a culprit. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid—an organ located in the throat that regulates growth—doesn't function like it should. This can lead to a number of physical and intellectual developmental problems such as slow growth, lethargy, unexplained weight gain, delayed walking and speech skills, and sluggish response.
Typically, newborns are screened for this issue, but that doesn't mean children can't develop thyroid problems as they grow. If your child is exhibiting the previously listed symptoms, it's best to take him or her to your physician for diagnosis. Treatment may require dietary changes or medication, and the sooner you start the fewer complications you child may experience later in life.
For more information about delayed tooth eruption or to get your child's teeth checked, contact a kid dentist.