Baby Teething

Teething is a normal part of a baby’s development and is referred to the eruption of ‘baby teeth’ (also known as milk teeth) through the gums. The development of milk teeth is complete while the baby is still in the womb; however, the teeth only erupt through the gums as the baby turns 6-9 months old (the exact age of eruption of teeth can be less or greater than this). During the growth of teeth through the gums, there is a release of special chemicals in the baby’s body, which helps in separation of part of the gums, thereby, allowing the teeth to erupt through the gums.

When does a Baby Begin Teething?

image001First teeth in majority of the babies erupt when they are 4 to 7 months old. However, few babies may have it as early as 3 months or as late as a year. The development of teeth starts in your womb with the formation of tooth buds in the gums. After birth, teeth erupt usually one at a time and very often in the following order: first to be seen are the two bottom middle teeth, then erupts the two top middle teeth, then comes the teeth on the side and back. The second molars are usually the last teeth to appear and you may see them when your baby turns 2 years old. Your child will have the complete set of 20 baby or milk teeth by her 3rd birthday and these teeth will not fall out until the permanent teeth are ready to erupt, usually by age 6.

What Are the Symptoms of Baby Teething?

The symptoms during teething may vary greatly in babies and children. Many babies may suffer from mild symptoms that occur for a few days, whereas, many others may have painful teething and the symptoms can last for a long duration. The most common signs and symptoms of baby teething are:

  • Gums become red and swollen
  • Face or cheeks may appear flushed
  • Your baby may rub her ear that is on the same side as the erupting tooth
  • Increased salivation
  • Your baby’s sleep at night may be disturbed and she may appear restless
  • Your baby may not feed properly
  • Your baby may rub her gums, bite, chew or such more than usual

Little evidence exists to prove the fact that increased temperature (fever) and mild diarrhea are symptoms caused due to teething. Your child should not become unwell due to teething. In case your baby develops fever, loose stools or other symptoms that are not associated with teething and is unwell, then you should contact your pediatrician. It may happen that various infections such as a chest infection, ear infection, stomach infection or urinary infection may cause the symptoms.

What Can You Do to Ease You Baby’s Discomfort?

1. Something to Chew on Like Teething Rings

You can use teething rings for your baby to ease her discomfort. She can have something to chew on safely. It helps in easing their pain and distracts her from any associated pain.

You can also use a cold washcloth or some cold foods such as yogurt or applesause if your baby is old enough to eat solid foods. Be aware that foods like carrots should be avoided because they prove to be choking hazards.

2. Teething Gels

You can use sugar free teething gels in babies who are older than four months. These gels can be rubbed on your baby’s gums. The mild anesthetic present in these gels help numb any discomfort or pain associated with teething.

Warning: An advice was issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in April 2009, regarding the use of salicylate salts containing oral pain relief gel in children who are under the age of 16.

This advice was issued because the effect of the salicylate salts on the body has been found same as that of aspirin. Use of aspirin is not recommended in children under 16 years of age because of the risk of developing a rare but life threatening condition known as Reye’s syndrome by the use of aspirin. Reye’s syndrome can cause serious damage to liver and brain.

You should check with your GP or pharmacist before you buy a teething gel for your baby to ensure that the gel can be used in children and there are no salicylate salts present in it.

3. Painkillers

If your baby is having severe pain and/or has fever, you can try giving her painkillers that are specifically prescribed for children. Your doctor may prescribe infants’ acetaminophen. Remember to never give your baby aspirin.

4. Comforting a Teething Baby

You can play with your baby or comfort her so as to distract her from the pain associated with teething. Your baby may be too restless or irritable to play, but, it is usually a great way to distract your baby from the teething pain.

5. Preventing Rashes

If there is more than usual salivation due to teething, make sure that you wipe their chin frequently. This helps in preventing development of rashes due to teething. You can also make your baby sleep on an absorbent sheet.

6. Rub Your Baby’s Gums

You can use your finger (clean), a moistened gauze pad or a clean and damp washcloth to rub/massage the gums of your baby. Your baby’s discomfort may be eased by the pressure applied.

7. Cool Drinks

You can give cool, sugar free drinks to your baby to soothe her gums. Cool water is the best option.

Watch a video for more tips and recommended products for teething baby:

When do You Need to Call a Doctor?

Most cases of teething can be dealt with at home. Your doctor should be contacted if your baby has fever, is unwell and uncomfortable or shows other signs and symptoms of infection such as diarrhea and fever.

 
 
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