Most babies start teething by the age of 6 months. This is a process that can be painful for infants and is a frequent cause of concern for parents. Here are some tips to help you and your child get through it.

Symptoms of Teething and How Parents Can Help

Babies who are teething often have sore or tender gums. They may also drool more than usual and be cranky or irritable. A temperature of up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit is common.

There are several ways to alleviate the soreness caused by teething. You can apply gentle pressure to your baby’s gums with a clean finger or a damp piece of gauze. If your baby eats solid foods, you can give him or her a hard food to gnaw on, such as a peeled carrot. If you do this, keep a close eye on your child to prevent choking. Cold objects can also help with the pain of teething. Many babies get relief from chewing on a cold washcloth or a chilled (but not frozen) teething ring.

If you have tried these strategies to ease your baby’s pain but your child is still crying and unable to sleep, you can try an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for infants. Be sure to follow the dosing instructions carefully. Don’t give your baby any medication containing benzocaine or lidocaine because they can cause harm or even death.

Although teething is unpleasant, it can generally be handled by parents and caregivers at home. If your baby has a fever of 100 degrees or higher or diarrhea, or if the child seems to be extremely uncomfortable, contact your pediatrician. There could be something else going on in addition to the teething.

How to Care for Your Baby’s New Teeth

You should clean your baby’s gums with a damp cloth every day until teeth erupt. Once your baby’s teeth have started to come in, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for infants with a bit of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. Don’t use more than that until your child is able to spit. Too much fluoride can lead to a condition called fluorosis that can discolor teeth.

All children should visit a pediatric dentist by the age of 1. The dentist will check the condition of the gums and any teeth that have erupted and answer questions about nutrition and dental care. The initial visit is also an opportunity for your child to get used to the dentist, the office, and the experience of having someone look inside his or her mouth so future dental visits won’t be scary. If your child is due for a dental exam, contact CT Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.