Teething can become a tough ordeal for parents and their babies when tears, crankiness, and drooling sets in. In most cases, babies start to teeth around the age of 6 months, although it varies widely. The first set of teeth to appear is the lower central incisors (the two bottom teeth), followed by the upper central incisors (the two top front teeth).
Signs and symptoms of teething are crankiness or irritability, drooling, tender or sore gums, and chewing on solid objects. Although most parents say that teething causes diarrhea and fever, it has not been scientifically proven. The most common signs and symptoms of teething are found in the mouth and gums.
Here are the best tips for tackling the teething phase:
• Rub the gums of your baby using a moistened gauze pad or a clean finger pad. The pressure applied when rubbing the baby’s gum can ease the baby’s discomfort.
• Sooth the gums of your baby using a cold spoon, washcloth, or chilled teething ring. However, frozen teething ring should not be used because contact with extreme cold is harmful.
• Just in case your baby has started eating solid foods, foods like peeled and chilled carrot or cucumber can be given to the baby. However, you should keep a close eye on the baby because pieces of the food might choke the baby.
• One of the symptoms of teething is excessive drooling. So, to prevent irritation, dry the chin of the baby using a clean cloth. Moisturizers like water-based lotion or cream can also be applied.
• Just in case your baby is especially cranky, over-the-counter remedies like the use of ibuprofen (Children’s Motrin, Advil, etc.) or acetaminophen (Tylenol alike) can be a great deal.
• Teething medications that contain a pain reliever called benzocaine is a big NO. This is because benzocaine products cause a rare but serious condition called methemoglobinemia. People that suffer from methemoglobinemia have a reduced amount of oxygen in their blood.
• Although teething can be easily handled at home, it is advisable to see a doctor when the baby develops signs or symptoms (e.g. fever) that may not be related to teething.
How to Care For a Baby’s New Set Of Teeth
• Run a clean, damp washcloth over the baby’s gum daily. This prevents bacteria from building up in the baby’s mouth
• On the appearance of the baby’s first set of teeth, change to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and until the baby learns to spit things out (at around age 3), only use fluoride toothpaste not larger than the size of rice grain.
• The appearance of a baby’s first teeth is a signal to start thinking of regular dental checkups. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that baby’s first dental visit should be immediately after the baby’s first tooth erupts or not later than the baby’s first birthday.