Every parent of every infant will deal with teething at some point. It's a natural part of babies growing, and while it may not seem so at the time, it won't last forever. Babies will usually start to cut teeth between four and seven months old, although sometimes they start earlier or later. No matter when a baby's first teeth show up, it's always a cause for celebration and pictures for the baby book.
Baby's teeth will typically appear in the following order:
- Bottom middle teeth
- Top middle teeth
By the time a child is done teething, he or she will have 20 teeth total. The last teeth to come in will be the second molars, often called the "two year" molars, in the back of the mouth. Typically, these are all in between the ages of two and three. They will keep these teeth until around the age of six, when baby teeth start falling out to make way for adult teeth.
Below, parents can find all of the information they need to cope with a teething little one.
The symptoms of teething can vary from child to child. The typical symptoms include:
- Facial rash, which is caused by drooling
- Swelling of gums
- Sensitivity of gums
- Biting or chewing
- Refusing food
- Sleeping problems
What else could it be?
It is often difficult for parents to know if their child is teething or if there is something else wrong entirely. There are a number of possibilities that could account for the same teething symptoms. Anything from an ear infection to a stomach virus to allergies can have similar symptoms. However, if the baby is running a fever above 100⁰F, pulling at his or her ears, vomiting or has any other symptoms that aren't listed above, it's time to call the doctor because it most likely isn't teething.
There are many tried and true tricks for dealing with the perils of teething. Some are safer and more effective than others. Most parents use things like teething rings or chilled, damp wash clothes as teething remedies to soothe sore gums. There are many different types of teething rings available. Some are liquid filled and can be refrigerated to provide cooling relief. These should never be frozen because they become very hard and can bruise a baby's gums when bitten. There are also teething rings and toys that are hard plastic. These too can bruise a baby's gums so parents should opt for something a bit softer.
One baby item that serves double duty is the teething feeder. This is a combination teething toy and whole foods feeder. With this feeder, parents can put frozen chunks of fruit in the mesh bag and the baby can chew and suck on the food. Even though the fruit pieces are frozen, they melt fairly quickly and don't bruise the baby's gums. The cold soothes the baby's gums, and they are able to consume whole foods without choking.
Teething biscuits are another time honored trick used to relieve baby's teething pain. Babies usually like them because they are slightly sweet. Parents should keep a camera handy for the first teething biscuit because they get about as messy as a baby's first plate of spaghetti. The only downside to teething cookies is that pieces can break off posing a choking hazard, so parents must watch the baby closely.
Doctors often recommend a small dose of children's acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Parents can use either one or they can alternate them every three hours. Often, these two medications complement each other, giving the baby more relief without overloading on a particular medication.
One thing parents should never do is give a baby aspirin because it can cause Reye's syndrome, a possibly life threatening condition. One remedy that has been used in years past was rubbing a chewable aspirin on the baby's gums. While it may get rid of the pain, the risk of Reye's syndrome is too great and parents should steer clear of the aspirin.
Teething gels can be used as well, but parents need to be careful about how much they use. Too much can numb a baby's throat and disable the gag reflex, causing the baby to choke on saliva or food.
Here is a review of the possible teething remedies that parents can use to soothe their baby's sore:
- Teething rings or cold damp cloths
- Teething feeder
- Teething biscuits
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Teething gel
There are a few natural treatments that greatly help relieve the discomfort associated with teething. One of the best is teething tablets. These small pills dissolve on contact in a baby's mouth and contain herbal ingredients that are completely safe with no side effects.
There are also natural homeopathic teething medicines that are given in a similar manner to over-the-counter pain relievers. These are usually combination medicines and they can be found in vegetarian and vegan formulas.
Clove oil can be used for a baby's gums in the same way that the teething gels are. Parents can add 1-to-4 drops to a tablespoon of vegetable oil and rub on a baby's gums. There is also pre-diluted clove oil mixtures designed for teething babies at most health food stores.
It may seem like teething will last forever, but it really won't. By recognizing the symptoms and using some of these teething remedies, parents can find some relief for their baby's pain and their own frazzled nerves.