How can I soothe my child during teething?


How can I soothe my child during teething?

November 19, 2020 4:17 pm Published by

Teething can be difficult for parents and children alike. While it doesn’t last forever, it can sometimes feel that way, particularly with cranky babies who aren’t afraid to share their feelings with the world! Here are some tips on easing the pain for both parties.

What is teething?

Amazingly, your baby actually has their first set of teeth before they’re even born. But, they are within the jaw bone, and only emerge in the first year. Just before they appear, gums can be inflamed and sore as the tooth breaks through. This can last a few days. Once the tooth has emerged, it takes several days more for the area to settle down.

How long does it go on for?

From the moment they first appear, teeth generally some in pairs, starting from the bottom front teeth and working up and back. This process will stop and start, usually beginning with the first pair around 6 months of age, until your child has a full set of 20 primary teeth by the age of 3 years.

How do I know when my child is teething?

Your baby will likely start being irritable and grumpy, crying more than usual, and drooling excessively. They might have swollen gums, or rub their face or chew on objects. The discomfort can be more noticeable at night when things are quiet – so you may get woken up a few times. In some cases, there can be a slight temperature increase, but not a fever – if your baby has a very high temperature then you should see your doctor, as something else might be going on.

You might also notice the gum splitting slightly before the tooth emerges – don’t be alarmed, as its a completely normal part of the process where the gums actually adapt to allow the teeth to emerge. You might also spot swelling, which is very normal. You shouldn’t need to see your doctor about teething at all – but do consider it if your baby seems very unsettled for long periods, or it seriously affects their eating and drinking.

What can I do to help?

There are a few easy home remedies. You can try massaging the baby’s gums (make sure you have washed your hands first). Or, keep the area cool with a washcloth that’s been in the fridge, as this helps numb the area. You could also buy a teething ring – a firm rubber is the best.

What should I avoid?

Teething necklaces and bracelets are popular nowadays, but they do come with their own risks. Choking or strangulation are both possible, as is infection, so don’t leave your baby unsupervised with them. Jewellery can also be made of non-baby-friendly materials including silicone, marble, or wood. Really, a purpose-built teething ring is best – even though you can’t wear it!

There are over-the-counter remedies available from your pharmacist, and homeopathic teething tablets. But, be very careful of what you buy. Benzocaine is a local anaesthetic, but it can in rare circumstances lead to a dangerous condition called methemoglobinemia.

Likewise, lidocaine, which works to block nerve signals and stop the pain, can cause serious harm to children. With either medication, the relief is very short-lived, as these topical products will wash out of the baby’s mouth pretty quickly. It is very likely that your kids’ dentist at Drs. Nicolas & Asp would not recommend these at all.

The fact is – teething is a natural process. Even though it can be hard to see your baby in discomfort or pain, medications should not be necessary and can cause more harm than good. If you are in any doubt, see your kids’ dentist at Drs. Nicolas & Asp for more advice and help.

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