When your baby begins teething, it can mean lots of sleepless nights, cranky parents and babies, and all in all, can be a very challenging time. Babies are born with 20 teeth under their gum line, and before long your happy, bouncy baby can turn into a drooling and fussy one due to discomfort related to teething.
Crankiness, excessive drooling, and lots of tears can make a teething baby challenging to care for. The good news is there are a number of baby teething tips that will help to soothe and calm your child.
What is Normal with a Teething Baby?
While the timing of teething and teeth erupting can vary significantly, most babies start teething around the age of 6 months. The two bottom front teeth are typically the first teeth to erupt (called the lower central incisors) with the two top front teeth (upper central incisors) following after.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of teething in babies include:
- Drooling Excessively
- Chewing on Objects Constantly
- Crankiness and Irritability
- Tender or Sore Gums
- Slightly Increased Temperature (but no fever)
How Can I Soothe My Baby’s Gums While Teething?
If your baby is in the throes of teething and seems uncomfortable, try a few of these simple ideas to soothe your baby:
Massage: Gently rub and massage your baby’s gums. You can use a clean finger or a warm wet washcloth to massage your baby’s gums. The pressure from the massage will help to ease your baby’s discomfort.
Give your Baby Something Cold: A teething baby will find relief by chewing on something cold or frozen. You can try chilling a teething ring (or another teething toy) in the freezer before giving it to your baby. You can also try freezing a wet washcloth for them to chew on or offering them frozen fruit in a mesh or silicone teether.
Wipe Away Drool: Most teething babies will produce a fair amount of drool. It is important to wipe away the excessive drool consistently, as the drool can cause an uncomfortable rash if left on the skin. Using a terry towel bib while your baby is teething will help contain the drool and prevent it from spreading.
Try Over-the-Counter Medicine: This should be considered a last resort, and only after the above strategies have been tried. If you find that your baby is especially cranky or unable to sleep due to their discomfort, try giving them some pain medications specially formatted for babies such as infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Extra Cuddle Time: Sometimes the best way to soothe an uncomfortable baby is to simply offer them some extra love and cuddle time. Cuddle up together on the couch, in bed, or on a big comfy chair, and spend time reassuring and tending to your baby. Putting your baby in a baby carrier is also a great option if that is something your baby enjoys.
Extra Feedings: If you are nursing your baby, don’t be afraid to offer extra feeding sessions to your baby. Often for babies, nursing brings the highest level of comfort and security to them, and in many cases will help them relax enough to fall asleep.
How Should I Care for My Baby’s New Teeth?
Before the first few teeth have erupted, you can clean your baby’s mouth by running a clean, soft, cloth over your baby’s gums twice daily. This practice will help to keep food debris and unwanted bacteria from accumulating in your baby’s mouth.
Once the first few teeth have appeared, you can start to use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush to clean their teeth twice daily. Until your child has learned how to spit properly, you should only use a bit of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. Once your child is 2-3 years of age and can spit, you can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to brush with.
When Should my Baby See the Dentist?
Once your baby has sprouted a few teeth, it is time to think about introducing them to your dentist and getting into the habit of regular dental checkups. Most dentists recommend that your child receive their first check-up between the ages of 1 and 3. The earlier you introduce your child to routine dental care, the more easily they will accept and understand the importance of this.
At Stonegate Dental, we are proud to provide a warm and comfortable environment to all our patients, whatever age they may be. If you want to learn more about how to care for your baby’s teeth and gums, or to set up an appointment for you or your child, contact our Guelph dentist’s office today!