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Eleven-Month-Old Hasn't Cut Teeth
Q: My nephew is almost 11 months old and hasn't cut any teeth yet. Is this normal?
A: The first tooth usually erupts (come through the gums) between 5 to 7 months, although it can be as early as 3 months and as late as 15 months. At 11 months of age, you need not worry that your nephew has not cut any teeth. The timing of this is usually hereditary, so if your nephew's parents developed teeth around one year of age, it is likely that he will as well.
When your nephew's first tooth does pop through the gums, you can expect a few things. Children will start chewing on just about anything (furniture, toys, clothes), which is called teething. During this time, he may become cranky, drool, and be fussier at mealtimes. Teething is painful for most children because when teeth begin to grow up through the gums, nerves are involved in the process.
To help your nephew during teething, give him something to chew on. Not only will this comfort him, but it will also help new teeth break through. Some teething objects could be a rubber or plastic teething ring, or a wet wash cloth. You may also want to freeze these objects, which may help relieve the pain by numbing his gums. Be sure that any teething object is large enough so that he can not choke or swallow it. Frequent use of gum gels is not recommended because it may accidentally be overused causing a child to overdose on the medicine. Occasional doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be given by mouth, but very infrequently. If he has too many episodes of teething or the episodes seem too severe or different from usual, contact his pediatrician to be sure nothing else is going on.
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Henry Bernstein, M.D., is currently the associate chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital, Boston. He also has an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School.