Teething and Your Baby

Drooling, crankiness and tears can make teething an ordeal for babies and parents alike. Here’s information to help ease the pain — for both of you.

Your baby will be born with all 20 primary teeth below their gumline.  These teeth typically start to erupt between 6 and 9 months and children will usually have a full set of primary teeth in place by age 2 to 3.  The two bottom front teeth (lower central incisors) are usually the first to appear, followed by the two top front teeth (upper central incisors).

Teething Symptoms

There are some symptoms of teething that are normal for your baby to experience.  These include:

  • Fussiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling more than usual
  • Sore or tender gums

Other symptoms NOT associated with teething are: fever, diarrhea or rash.  If these symptoms are present, it’s best to check with your pediatrician as there is likely some other cause.

Soothing a Teething Baby

Your child may have sore or tender gums when teeth begin to erupt. Here are some tips to help alleviate the pain.

  • Rub your baby’s gums. Use a clean finger or moistened gauze pad to rub your baby’s gums. The pressure can ease your baby’s discomfort.
  • Keep it cool. A cold washcloth, spoon or chilled teething ring can be soothing on a baby’s gums. Don’t give your baby a frozen teething ring, however.
  • Try hard foods. If your baby is eating solid foods, you might offer something edible for gnawing — such as a peeled and chilled cucumber or carrot. Keep a close eye on your baby, however. Any pieces that break off might pose a choking hazard.
  • 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 dry your baby’s chin. Consider applying a moisturizer such as a water-based cream or lotion.
  • Try an over-the-counter remedy. If your baby is especially cranky, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Children’s Motrin, others) might help.

Teething tables, Numbing Gels and Homeopathic Remedies

Avoid homeopathic teething tablets and teething medications that contain the pain reliever benzocaine or lidocaine. They can be harmful — even fatal — to your baby.  The FDA warns against use and recommends disposing of any you have on hand.

Also, be aware of what the teethers you choose for your child are made from. Just because something is marketed as a teether doesn’t always mean it’s safe. In a September 2017 report, the Center for Disease Control published a case reporter of an infant who suffered lead poisoning after chewing on a bracelet. The bracelet, which the child’s parents said was a homeopathic magnetic hematite health bracelet intended to help ease the child’s discomfort from teething, had metal beads which contained lead.

Taking care of those new baby teeth

To find out more about how to care for your baby’s new teeth, check out our blog post about healthy brushing habits for all ages.

And remember, the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists is for children to establish a dental home by the age of one.  Our office offers an initial complimentary visit for children under the age of one, so call today for an appointment!