6 Top Tips For Easing Baby's Teething Pain
“Teething is a different experience for every child. Some babies feel little or no pain at all, while others demonstrate several symptoms over a period of weeks or even months,” says Dr Paul O’Dwyer, group clinical advisor at Dental Care Ireland.
“The pain is caused by movement within the developing jaw bone as the new teeth make their way through the gums. Once the teeth have emerged, any discomfort normally stops. In the meantime, however, there are a number of ways to help ease the transition for little ones and parents alike.”
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When Does Teething Start?
Even before they appear, a baby’s teeth have begun their journey as far back as the second trimester of pregnancy. Although timing varies widely, first teeth usually start to erupt into a baby’s mouth at about six months old.
For some children, each new tooth erupts one at a time. For others, teeth can arrive in pairs or sets. The two lower front teeth are generally the first to appear, followed by the two upper front teeth. Typically, most children will have a full set of 20 baby teeth by the time they reach three years old.
What Are The Signs Of Teething?
Signs and symptoms of teething vary from child to child. Some babies may feel little or no pain, while others show symptoms of teething that can last for weeks or months before a tooth erupts.
While there is no single set of indicators, a baby may experience some or all of the following teething signs:
- Red and slightly swollen gums
- Red or flushed cheek(s)
- Excessive drooling/ dribbling
- Chewing on objects
- Ear pulling or cheek rubbing
- Reduced appetite
Top Tips For Easing Teething Pain
1. Rub Baby's Gums
Use a clean finger or moistened gauze pad to lightly rub your baby's gums in the affected area. The counter pressure should help ease any discomfort.
2. Teething Ring
A teething ring can provide a safe and soothing item for your baby to chew on, as well as a mild distraction from the pain. A helpful tip is to chill the teething ring in the fridge. Never use a frozen teething ring as it could damage your baby's gum.
Another idea is to introduce a small, soft toothbrush at bath time. Your baby will enjoy biting down on the bristles, and it will also help get them used to the idea of brushing!
3. Cold Foods
For babies over six months, some cold natural yoghurt or chilled fruit purée can provide great comfort and relief for hot and swollen gums. Older babies might enjoy gnawing on a cold piece of carrot or apple, under supervision from a parent. Try to avoid giving any sugary snacks, which can cause tooth decay.
4. Dry The Drool
Excessive drooling is part of the teething process. Having a teething ring, fingers or other objects in the mouth produces saliva. To prevent skin irritation, keep a clean cloth handy to gently dry your baby's chin, consider applying an approved moisturiser, and use a bib for additional comfort.
If your baby is experiencing a lot of pain and especially irritable, you may want to consider a suitable over-the-counter remedy such as children’s paracetamol.
6. First Dental Visit
Early attendance at the dentist is the cornerstone of good dental health, ideally before the age of two, and preferably when the first tooth arrives at around six months. Regular dental check-ups allow your dentist to monitor the development of your child’s teeth and give you an opportunity to ask questions on brushing, maintenance and diet.
Dr Paul O’Dwyer BDS, MSc is group clinical advisor at Dental Care Ireland, a new Irish-owned network of established dental practices nationwide. For further information, visit www.dentalcareireland.ie