A full set of 20 baby teeth can take up to three years to come in properly. Teething can begins between the 6th and 24th month of age. Unfortunately for baby, the teething process can be painful and irritating. Teeth moving beneath the gums can make the surface area red and swollen. There are some symptoms to watch for that can warn you when your child starts teething including:
- restlessness at night
- biting objects
- refusal to eat
Once you notice these symptoms, there are methods to distract your baby, alleviate their pain, and make things easier for them (and you).
Use these safe teething remedies:
- Pressure – Add pressure on the gums to offset the erupting tooth. Place a clean finger inside the baby’s mouth and gently massage the gums. If you don’t feel like getting your fingers dirty, use a moistened gauze pad to rub the gums. Alternatively, use a wooden spoon to apply pressure and give baby something to chew.
- Cold – Applying cold can work well to soothe gums, just like a cold compress can relieve pain and swelling from injuries. One common method is using a cold washcloth. Put a wet washcloth in a plastic bag and chill it in the refrigerator. While the cold numbs the pain, you can massage the gums with the fabric, providing extra relief. Alternatively, chill a spoon and apply the rounded end to the gums. This method is best used before any teeth have broken through (to avoid chipping the teeth). Use your fridge to cool anything for baby’s mouth. The freezer can make the temperature too low and uncomfortable. You can also give your baby something cool to chew on (e.g. crushed ice). Avoid choking hazards by putting cubes in a cloth and bashing them with a pan or rolling. Give baby small, frozen chips to chew.
- Teethers – Teething toys can give baby something to chew to help soothe and distract from the pain. There are several safe, non-toxic options (including silicone [LF1] or wooden teething toys). Wooden ones can be especially effective as your baby may find the texture more comfortable. Be aware that some wooden teethers may need to be oiled before use. There are also vibrating teethers available that massage the gums, giving more relief. You can also place teethers in the fridge for a few minutes to chill and reduce any swelling. Also consider plush teething toys from organic brands. These toys are soft and safe to chew, and machine washable for ease of cleaning.
- Hard foods – If your baby is old enough to eat solid food, there are some hard foods that may ease the pain. Chilled carrots, celery, or cucumbers can cool gums and relieve teething pressure during chewing. Do keep an eye on your baby and prevent them from biting off too much. Use a mesh feeder to help your baby soften food and make it easier to swallow. Many stores sell “teething biscuits.” They are initially hard, but soften in a baby’s mouth, making them easier to eat. Alternatively, you can offer soft, chilled foods like yogurt or applesauce.
- Tea – Some parents swear by natural remedies like chamomile tea. When using a frozen washcloth, consider using chamomile tea instead of water. The tea can soothe baby’s bad mood and help him/her relax. To keep your baby safe, use caffeine-free tea, and never use tea made from plants in your garden. Other tea variants can provide some added relief. For example, rosehip contains antioxidants and vitamin C to boost the immune system. Rosehip also has anti-inflammatory properties to bring down the swelling. Clove can also work as a natural anaesthetic and help relieve some of the teething pain.
Consult with your pediatrician to determine the safety of using any herbal remedy for your child.
- Breastfeeding – If your baby is still breastfeeding, nursing can provide some comfort. Sucking helps relieve gum swelling and soothes the baby. Your child may also try to bite nipples to reduce the pressure s/he feels. If so, rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger before feeding and end the session when they seem full (but before they get bored). Breastfeeding can also help boost the immune system. Some babies develop colds and fevers during teething; breast milk contains antibodies that fight infection.
- Sippy cup – Babies six months or older can suck on a sippy cup for some comfort. A slow flow sippy cup can relieve pressure on the gums and relieve pain. You can also add ice cubes to the cup to make the drink cooler and more soothing.
- Distraction – Look for pleasant distractions that can get your child’s [LF2] mind off teething pains. One thing you can try is a warm (supervised) bath; the water can help with relaxation. You can also try some surprise cuddle time to make baby feel safe; it may encourage them to sleep or nap.
First teeth can emerge in children as young as six months — or as late as their first birthday. Teething is an important part of a baby’s development; use dentist-recommended remedies to ensure teeth grow properly and stay healthy
For quality family dentistry in Lambton Shores, call Lambton Shores Family Dental. We offer the latest techniques and technology, combined with a comfortable environment and a warm, caring team. We also provide same-day emergency dentist services for unexpected events. Contact us at (519) 704-1400 to make appointments for patients of all ages.
For additional kids’ support, look into our Lambton Smiles campaign!