When your baby is teething, that can mean discomfort for both the child and their parents alike. Here’s some info on how to ease the pain… for both of you.
What Does Typical Teething Look Like?
Babies usually begin teething around 6 months, but this timing can vary. The first teeth to appear are typically the bottom front lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors (the top two front teeth).
Classic Teething Signs & Symptoms:
- Excessive drooling
- Chewing on objects
- Irritability or crankiness
- Sore or tender gums
- Slight increase in temperature — but no fever
Does Teething Cause Fever & Diarrhea?
The short answer is no, these issues are not indicators of teething.
If your baby has a rectal temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or diarrhea, talk to their doctor.
How to Soothe Sore Gums
- Make sure your hands are clean and either use your finger or wet gauze to rub your baby’s gums. The pressure can ease their discomfort
- Use a cold (NOT frozen) spoon or chilled teething ring to soothe your baby’s gums.
- If your baby is especially sensitive, you may consider an over-the-counter remedy like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
Treatments to Avoid
- Homeopathic teething tablets or gels that you can get at the pharmacy have not been medically proven to benefit or soothe teething pains. They also can sometimes contain greater levels of the ingredient belladonna, which can cause seizures and difficulty breathing.
- Any medications that contain benzocaine or lidocaine can be harmful – or even fatal – to babies.
- Necklaces, bracelets, or other jewelry designed for teething can pose the risks of choking, strangulation, mouth injury, and infection.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
While you can normally handle teething at home, contact your doctor if your baby seems particularly uncomfortable or if teething is interfering with their eating or drinking.
How Do I Care for My Baby’s New Teeth?
We suggest running a soft, clean cloth over your baby’s gums twice a day. After morning feedings and before bed are good times to do this.
When their first teeth start to appear, use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush to clean them twice a day. Until your child learns how to spit (about age 3), use a smear of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice. Once they reach ages 2-3, you can increase the amount of toothpaste to about a pea-sized dollop.
Once your baby begins teething, it may be time to consider regular dental checkups. The American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend scheduling your child’s first visit around their first birthday.
And remember, regular dental care during childhood helps set the stage for a lifetime of healthy and happy smiles to come!