Some babies are early teethers whereas others are late in this aspect. If you suspect that your baby falls into the late category then read on…
What do we class as a 'late teether?' This term is used to describe a baby who does not start teething until after their first birthday. This is known as 'delayed eruption'. However, there is something cute about a baby's toothless smile and the gummy look is definitely 'in' this year. On a serious note your baby may be a late developer so be prepared to wait for a bit longer until his/her teeth appear.
Quick question: were you or your partner late developers? If either of you were late bloomers then you were probably late in developing milk teeth as well.
Could late teething be a sign of something else?
Even if your baby doesn't develop teeth until they are past their first birthday it doesn't mean that there is something wrong. If anything, it is more likely to be due to genetics. But if your little one is still toothless by the age of 18 months then speak to your doctor. Your doctor will examine your baby and look for signs of an underlying medical condition such as an underactive thyroid.
What is an underactive thyroid?
An underactive thyroid or 'hypothyroidism' is where the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones which help to control the metabolism. The metabolism slows down which leads to other problems such as weight gain, tiredness and a slower than normal heartbeat. Most people have heard of hypothyroidism but assume it affects adults only. In most cases it does but there is a version which affects babies and infants. Thankfully it is very rare so don't worry. The chances of your little one having this condition are slim so don't assume that this is the case.
Hypothyroidism in babies is a very rare condition. It occurs due to a failure of the thyroid gland to fully develop which stops it from producing enough hormones. Plus it is 'congenital' which means that a baby would have this condition from birth but it would have been picked up at that time.
Your baby is probably a ball of energy so nothing to worry about there.
Another possible cause is an insufficient diet. This is not a criticism or a suggestion that poor parenting is to blame as we know parents will always try to do the best for their children. But what can happen is that a baby may not get sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals which are essential for his growth and development. For example: not enough calcium in baby's diet will affect the growth of healthy bones and teeth.
To reiterate: the most likely cause of late teething is being a late developer.