Teething is the process when the first set of teeth, called the primary teeth or baby teeth, erupt from beneath the gums of your infant. This usually starts at the 6-month mark, and continues until the age of 3. Within this time, your child will have developed the entire set of 20 primary teeth.
Teething is an inevitable part of life that marks the growing up of an infant. Teething also marks the baby’s transition from primarily a liquid diet to more solid foods. The process of teething gives infants (as well as parents) many a sleepless night.
Signs of teething
- Swelling and soreness of the gums
- Baby is more restless than normal
- Loss of appetite
- Tendency to bite on anything to ease pressure
- Lack of proper sleep
Tips to help your child ease the discomfort of teething
- Provide safe objects for your infant to chew on. Things like teething rings, pacifiers, frozen washcloths or even a particular giraffe may help.
- If the baby can have solid food, try giving some cold yogurt or applesauce.
- Gently rub and massage your baby’s gum, using a clean finger.
- Also try rubbing baby’s gums with some small gauze pads. This will remove a thin layer of plaque that forms on the gums, thus lessening eruption pain.
- If drool creates rashes on your child’s face, gently wipe it off with a cotton cloth.
- Give your baby a bottle of tap water (containing fluoride), at bedtime. Never give anything sweet like juice or milk to drink at night, as it may cause baby tooth decay.
- Give your child a mild pain reliever like Tylenol or Ibuprofen. However, do consult your dentist or doctor before giving any medicine, or applying soothing gel on your baby’s gums.
When using a pacifier…
- Choose one that is properly shaped, and fits correctly in the baby’s mouth.
- Choose one with a soft nipple, and avoid using baby bottle nipples as a pacifier.
- Clean the pacifier regularly using warm water, and replace once it starts to wear out.
Teething hurts. Any adult who has felt wisdom teeth come in or move can relate. The only way to truly pacify the pain is to have the teeth all grown in, but making your baby as comfortable as possible will help calm them and can provide you with comfort as well.