For most babies (and their parents) teething is not a fun time.
The journey of baby teeth starts in the womb, when tooth buds develop in the gums. Generally around six months of age - give or take a few months depending on the child - their teeth start to push through the gums. This pressure is called teething, and it can cause your baby some pain or discomfort.
No parent wants to see his or her child distressed, so when the teething phase strikes, it’s important to know what you can do to help soothe your baby.
How To Tell When A Child Is Teething:
If you’ve noticed your baby is cranky or unsettled, this may be the start of their teeth coming through.
Here are a few common teething signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Constantly sucking on fingers and rubbing gums
- Flushed cheeks or face
- Excessive drooling
- Chewing or sucking on objects
- Red and swollen gums
- Unsettled sleep
- Not feeding as well as usual
- Slight increase in temperature (but not a fever)
It’s commonly misunderstood that teething may cause your baby to develop a fever or diarrhea. While your child’s temperature may slightly increase due to the discomfort of teething, there is no evidence to prove that teething causes fever. If your child does develop these symptoms and you become worried, book an appointment with your doctor.
How Can I Help My Baby Through Teething?
If your baby is showing the signs and symptoms of teething, the good news is there are ways to help sooth your child through this dreaded period.
Here are some helpful tips on how to soothe a teething baby:
If your baby is constantly sucking on their fingers or chewing on objects, he/she is finding relief from the pressure. Here are some safe remedies to try:
- Rub their gums using the end of your finger. Be sure to clean your hands before and after doing so.
- Give your baby a hard teething toy. Be sure to check what the toy is made from to ensure the materials are safe to chew. Wooden teethers are a great choice as they are generally safe to chew. Opt for wooden toys that are unfinished or finished with organic flax seed oil.
- Try a teething blanket. Providing a softer pressure, opt for a safe teething blanket made from organic fibers.
- Teething crackers and biscuits are an edible option, starting off hard then slowly dissolving.
Keep It Cool:
Cold packs reduce swelling and help numb the pain from sore, throbbing gums. Try freezing or refrigerating some popular foods and drinks, as well as household items. Some examples include:
- Cold carrot or celery. The combination of the coldness and pressure will help sooth gums and relieve pain.
- Cold cucumber. Cucumbers include anti-swelling properties, making them a great ingredient for your baby to chew on.
- Frozen fruit slushy. Simply blend a handful of frozen fruit with some ice and a liquid of choice (cold water or coconut water are popular options, or use milk for a smoothie) to make a tasty and healthy drink that’ll also help numb sore gums.
- Frozen washcloth. Wet a washcloth and place it in the freezer. Once frozen, let your baby chew away.
- Frozen baby spoon. Hold a cold spoon against the gum to combine pressure with the cold relief.
Distract and Comfort:
Try to keep your baby distracted from the discomfort with some nurturing rituals. Some ideas include:
- Run a walk bubble bath and let your baby have some fun. This will keep them distracted while the warm water will help keep them calm and relaxed.
- Provide plenty of cuddles! Babies find comfort in, well comfort. So be sure to give them some TLC during this difficult time.
We hope you found this article helpful. Here at Mulgrave Dental Group, we understand this can be a difficult time for parents and babies. If you are concerned about what’s going on inside your baby’s mouth, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us. Phone (03) 9562 5156.