Most parents await their baby’s first tooth with anxiety and excitement. Although a new development is worth celebrating, teething can come with a lot of discomfort. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make it easier for you and your baby.
Recognizing the symptoms
Teething is the process by which baby teeth become visible by appearing through the gums. Usually, it starts when your baby is between 6 to 9 months old. But it may begin as early as 3 months or as late as one year.
The symptoms of teething vary from child to child. They may include:
• Chin rash
• Ear rubbing
• Swollen gums
• Disrupted sleep patterns
• Decreased appetite
You will notice one or more of these symptoms about 4 days prior up until 3 days after it appears.
While teething is painful, it doesn’t usually make your child sick. Call your pediatrician if your child has a cough, rashes on the body, diarrhea, higher fever, and congestion.
How to help
Massaging your child’s gums can help with the pain. Also, pressure and cold on the affected area can give your baby some relief. You can apply this with:
• Cold, wet washcloths
• Chilled teething rings
• Chilled pacifiers
Do not freeze your child’s pacifier or teething rings as this can irritate your baby’s gum if left in his mouth for a while. Also, some over-the-counter medication can help. But ask your pharmacist or pediatrician for the right dosage. Don’t rub the medication on the gums as they can burn. Before applying numbing agents to your baby, consult your pediatrician.
Dental care for your little ones
Healthy gums and teeth are important to a child’s general health. You can begin by cleaning and caring for your child’s gums before the first tooth emerge. Start by cleaning a few times a day: gently wipe your baby’s gums using clean, damp gauze or damp face washer.
Once the teeth emerge, clean them in the morning and at night. Wrap a clean and damp facial gauze around one finger and clean each tooth. Clean both the back and front.
Also, you can introduce a mild small toothbrush made for babies under 2 years. Make sure you use just water on the toothbrush till your child is 18 months old. As soon your baby turns 18 months old, use small amount toothpaste with low fluoride on the toothbrush. Always keep the toothbrush clean and replace it every 3 to 4 months, especially when the bristles get frayed or worn out.
Although teething can be painful for you and your child at first, it’ll get simpler as you learn how to ease the pain when a new tooth emerges.