Teething is a process of primary tooth eruption and usually refers to the baby teeth breaking through the gingiva (gum tissue). Babies can begin teething between the age of three and twelve months. The whole experience can be very uncomfortable.
Eruption of primary teeth through the gum tissue can make the babies cranky, fussy, and irritable. The gum tissue where teeth are erupting can become swollen, tender, and sore. The symptoms will usually appear about a week before the tooth comes through and subside shortly after the tooth breaks through the gum tissue. Although teething can be an uncomfortable experience, many kids don’t seem to be affected by it.
There are several different remedies that can help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with teething. Gently rubbing your baby’s gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon, or wet gauze can usually soothe the discomfort. Another option is letting the baby chew on a teething ring. Teething rings are plastic, water filled baby toys that can be cooled to provide the baby with some relief from the discomfort. Babies can also chew on other objects or their fingers to try to relieve pressure caused by the erupting teeth. Natural teething tablets found at your local natural food store can also be effective.
As an alternative, over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol), may provide relief for the baby’s discomfort. Follow the printed dose recommendations or consult a pharmacist or your physician. Aspirin should not be given to children due to a risk for developing Reye syndrome.
Drooling is also a common occurrence during teething. Long term drooling can cause the baby to develop a rash on their chin, or chest. The rash usually resolves spontaneously after teething stops.
During teething the baby’s diet can be altered. Due to constant discomfort caused by an erupting tooth, the baby may eat and drink a lot less than usual. Fluid intake is always important. Allowing the baby to sip cold water or chew on an ice cube placed in a Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder.
If you have attempted several different methods to ease teething pain, and the baby continually appears to be uncomfortable and cranky, consult a dentist or a pediatrician to rule out other potential sources of discomfort.