Oral exploration with a teething toy or other device is important for our babies, it is part of normal development.
A brief look at baby's oral-motor development
Already in utero, baby will develop and maintain his oral skills. He will suck the amniotic fluid, he will swallow, his sucking reflex will be established, he will suck his fingers, etc. He will therefore refine his senses and prepare his oro-motor skills to be able to feed independently at birth. He will therefore refine his senses and prepare his oro-motor skills to be able to feed independently at birth.
Stimulation with the tongue, fingers, cord and amniotic fluid helps the baby to develop orality, but it also plays a role in the baby's maxillofacial growth.
Later, when the baby is born, it will continue this oral exploration with its upper limbs, by sucking either at the breast or with a bottle.
When baby is 3-4 months old, it will be possible for him to pick up toys and put them in his mouth.
What is the benefit for baby of using teething toys?
- Baby can already practice chewing. By taking a teething toy and biting it, as if teething, he is practising chewing. This is the beginning of chewing
- This will also strengthen baby's orofacial tone . When baby puts a toy in his mouth, his tongue will be able to work (with the rotation movement of the tongue), but also the jaws (maxilla and mandible) and the lips.
- This can provide baby with sensory stimulation. Baby prepares his oral area to receive something other than liquid food. Putting teething toys in his mouth will help him to suppress his gag reflex, which will help him to receive solid food.
- Baby will also be able to use his motor skills, especially hand-to-mouth.
- He will also train his hand-eye-mouth coordination, which will be useful for his feeding, baby development, activities and reasoning skills.
- To relieve the gums as well.
What type of teething toy?
Several kinds of teething toys can be used. Teething toys with different textures, sizes and lengths can be interesting for baby.
Initially, it will be possible to favour teething toys that are easy for baby to grasp.
Some examples are given below :
The Nuk evolutionary toothbrushes, which allow baby to have a wide oral exploration. Baby can sink his or her teeth into the brush to get the nausea back, bite it etc.
The small dinosaurwhich is easy for baby to grip, textured, with a small integrated brush. This toy is very interesting because it brings different textures, but also different sized tips. Baby can therefore strengthen his oro-motor tone and stimulate his senses.
The Amber Bambeado giraffe is also easy to grip and allows sensory discovery to be developed thanks to the different textures and the different length tips. Baby can therefore explore the senses and strengthen his orofacial sphere.
The classic and traditional Sophie the giraffeThis is the first time that a giraffe has been used in the world, and it also allows for oral and sensory exploration. Baby will be able to chew on the giraffe's legs and create sensations.
Oral exploration is therefore a normal part of baby's development. Baby may experience gagging and/or vomiting at the beginning of oral exploration, this can happen. It is important to monitor your baby.
Speech and language therapist specialising in oral disorders
Sources: " Orality of the foetus, Gérard Couly ".
" Speech therapy and orality, the orofacial sphere of the child, C. Thibault