Late Teething in Babies – Causes and Complications

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A baby smiling an showing its first few teeth

The first tooth usually appears when your child is around six months, but every child is different, so there can be a delay. However, if your child is over a year or more and shows no signs of teething, then it does call for concern.

What is Delayed Teething?

When the first few teeth, also known as the baby teeth, milk teeth, or deciduous teeth appear, your baby is said to be teething. This usually takes place when your baby is around six months old, but some children are late bloomers, so this can go as late as a year. However, you can call it delayed teething if your baby is over a year old and has still not shown any signs of teething.

Teething Chart

Upper teeth Erupt Shed
Central incisor 8-12 months 6-7 years
Lateral incisor 9-13 months 7-8 years
Canine (cuspid) 16-22 months 10-12 years
First molar 13-19 months 9-11 years
Second molar 25-33 months 10-12 years
Lower teeth Erupt Shed
Second molar 23-31 months 10-12 years
First molar 14-18 months 9-11 years
Canine (cuspid) 17-23 months 9-12 years
Lateral incisor 10-16 months 7-8 years
Central incisor 6-10 months 6-7 years

Reasons for Late Teething in Babies

A baby frowning with its finger in the mouth

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 spouse’s 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 you 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, that helps with growth, repair, immunity, and overall development of your child. Calcium is especially important for strong and health 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. Hypothyroidism 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 develops late.
  • Baby teeth is also required for your baby to be able to chew his food properly. 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, make sure that delayed teething does not run in the family. If it doesn’t, and if your baby is more than a year 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.

Baby teeth coming in late can cause you to worry. Observe your child, and look for any signs of abnormality like hoarse crying, constipation, or an abnormal heart rate. Go through your family history and look for 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.

Also Read: Baby Teething Remedies