Teething is a stressful time for all involved. You poor little one is cranky, which makes you cranky, which probably makes your whole family cranky and, thus, goes on the cycle of life. But there are ways to make this ordeal less painful for your baby, which will go a long way in making everyone smile again.
What is teething?
As the name suggests, teething is the process by which your baby’s first teeth (the deciduous teeth, often called “baby teeth” or “milk teeth”) appear by erupting through the gums, typically arriving in pairs.
The timing varies from child to child, but generally babies start teething around the six month mark. The two bottom front teeth (lower central incisors) usually come out first, followed by the two top front teeth (upper central incisors).
Symptoms of teething include:
- Chewing on solid objects
- Irritability or crankiness
- Sore or tender gums
Tips to help soothe your baby’s discomfort:
- Use a clean finger or moistened gauze pad to rub your baby’s gums. The pressure may give them relief.
- Keep a cold washcloth, spoon or chilled teething ring in their gums to sooth them. DO NOT GIVE THEM FROZEN TEETHING RINGS. Putting things that are too cold in their mouths can be harmful
- Offer a teething ring made of firm rubber instead of a pacifier or a ring filled with liquid. Pieces of those can break off in your baby’s mouth.
- Avoid juices and things that have sugar in them as they can cause decay.
- Try hard foods like carrots and chilled cucumbers, but keep an eye out that your baby doesn’t choke on them.
- Try an over-the-counter remedy. If your baby is especially cranky, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Children’s Motrin, others) might help. Avoid teething medications that contain the pain reliever benzocaine. Benzocaine products have been associated with methemoglobinemia a rare, but serious condition that reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood.
- As teeth erupt, use a soft baby toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste.
When to consult a dentist
It shouldn’t take more than a few weeks for a tooth to erupt once it is near the surface of the gum. If you’re noticing swelling or discoloration and your baby seems to be in a great deal of pain you should take him or her to see a dentist. If you are in the Kitchener area, Kitchener Dentist Charu Sharma will be happy to see your baby and provide you with proper treatment options.