If you have a new baby in your home, congratulations! This time is exciting, challenging, and joyful for you. At All About Smiles, we hope everything is going as smoothly as possible for you and your little one.
One of the challenges you’ll face, if you aren’t already, is teething. Usually, babies begin teething at about six months old, though some babies can start earlier or later. When it happens, you may find your happy little one turning into a grouch. To help your baby, you’ll need to know the signs of teething and what you can do to alleviate the symptoms. Read on and find that information below.
How Do Baby Teeth Develop?
Baby teeth begin to develop in the womb, during the second trimester. Tooth buds form underneath the baby’s gums, and as the roots grow, they push the teeth upwards into the mouth. However, teeth usually don’t begin to erupt until the baby is about six months old, and all 20 should have grown in when your baby is three.
Usually, the incisors, or front teeth, are the first to come in, especially the two bottom front teeth. They are often the least painful for the child because they have a thin, sharp edge. Molars, which begin growing in around age one, tend to hurt more.
What Are the Symptoms of Teething?
Teething is difficult for children, but it’s also difficult for their parents. Your child will probably be unhappy for a while, which means that you’ll have extra work in front of you. Classic teething symptoms include:
If your child is irritable, there’s a good chance that he or she could be teething. However, not all grumpy babies are cutting teeth-if your child cannot be distracted or screams non-stop, he or she probably has another problem, like an ear infection. While cutting teeth is unpleasant, it should be more of a dull pain than an intense one.
Some parents swear that teething also causes fever, congestion, sleep trouble, or diarrhea. However, medical research does not support this conclusion. If your cranky baby has these symptoms, something else is probably going on. You should consult with your doctor to rule out anything serious, just in case.
What Can You Do to Help?
You cannot fix your child’s problem-the teeth will have to grow in. However, you can help him or her through this stage more comfortably, giving yourself a break from the fussing in the process. Try these methods.
One of the easiest ways to help your child is to give him or her something to numb the pain. You have several options for applying cold, including:
A wet washcloth. Don’t freeze it, but cold breastmilk, water, or even chamomile tea (which can be soothing) on a washcloth can feel nice on your baby’s gums. He or she may like how chewing or sucking on it feels as well.
A chilled teething toy. You have many options-just look around. Again, don’t freeze teething toys. You don’t want them to be hard.
Refrigerating them will do the job. If your baby loves his or her pacifier, you can also try refrigerating it.
Cold foods. If your baby eats solids, try foods like partially frozen applesauce, leaving it slushy, or popsicles.
Hopefully, chewing or sucking on something cold will soothe the ache.
Though pressure does not numb the pain like cold does, it feels good while it’s being applied, which is why many babies seek out more things to chew during this time. Giving your child a teething ring will help, but so will something as simple as running your fingers along your baby’s gums.
Because teething should not be intensely painful, you may be able to cheer your child up by distracting him or her. Baths, books, cuddling, and going someplace new may refocus your child’s attention.
If your child is very fussy and won’t settle down, painkillers may be a good option. Just be careful before you administer any medication. Get your doctor’s advice and always check the painkiller’s recommended dose for infants.
Acetaminophen is okay for babies, but avoid aspirin or anything with benzocaine, which can have dangerous side effects for children. Ibuprofen is allowed for children over six months old, but don’t let them take it on an empty stomach. With some luck, the medication will help your baby relax, which will be good for him or her and for you.
Teething can be difficult for you and your child, but it won’t last forever. Soon, your child will have a toothy grin. When teeth do start coming in, make sure to read our blog about infant dental care and visit your dentist around your child’s first birthday. The team at All About Smiles is ready and willing to help your child out-just call for an appointment. We hope to see you here soon.