Teething is a process that all babies go through, and it is a frequent source of stress and confusion for new parents. Here are some tips to make things easier for your baby and for you.
Symptoms of Teething
The timing varies, but most babies start to get their first teeth by around six months of age. When a tooth is getting ready to erupt, babies often drool a lot, chew on objects, or put their fingers in their mouths. Crankiness, sore gums, loss of appetite, and a low-grade fever up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit are all common. Even though many people believe a higher fever and diarrhea are associated with teething, they are not.
How to Help Your Baby
Applying pressure to the gums or putting cold objects in the mouth can make a baby feel better. Rubbing your baby’s gums with a clean finger or a piece of gauze can be soothing. Some babies like to chew on a cold washcloth or a chilled (not frozen) teething ring. If your baby eats solid foods, you can try a chilled carrot, cucumber, or other hard food, but you should keep a close eye on your child to prevent choking.
If these methods don’t do enough to soothe your baby, you can try an over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Make sure the medication is designed for babies and follow the dosing instructions carefully. Don’t use medication with benzocaine or lidocaine because they can be dangerous or lethal to babies.
Putting objects in the mouth often leads to excessive drooling, which can irritate the skin. Wipe your baby’s chin frequently and use a moisturizer to prevent irritation.
How to Care for Your Baby’s Teeth and Gums
It’s a good idea to start cleaning a baby’s gums right after birth, but if you haven’t been doing that, you should definitely start once your baby begins to get teeth. Gums can be wiped with a damp washcloth or a soft infant toothbrush. Brush your baby’s new teeth with a soft-bristled brush. Use a smear of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice until your child is able to spit. Your baby may fuss and squirm when you begin cleaning the mouth, but young children generally get used to it with time and often come to enjoy it.
Take Your Baby to a Pediatric Dentist
All children should see a dentist by their first birthday. At the initial visit, the dentist will check any teeth that have erupted and the condition of the gums and will discuss topics such as oral care and nutrition. The first dental visit is also an opportunity for a child to get used to the environment and staff and to begin to feel comfortable with the idea of visiting a dentist. If your baby is due for an initial dental appointment, contact CT Pediatric Dentistry.