Before you see your baby’s precious smile, those little white teeth must break through the gums. This process, called teething, can cause soreness and swelling—not a happy situation for you or your child. Fortunately, I can give you a few ideas on how to ease your baby’s discomfort until the tooth breaks the skin. Read on to learn the signs of teething, when teething starts and what you can do to help.
How Do I Know if My Baby is Teething?
Many babies drool when they begin teething. Another sign may be that your child bites on her fingers or toys in order to relieve the pressure she feels. In addition, she may want to either have a bottle or nurse more or less often depending on whether sucking relieves or worsens the pain.
When Does Teething Typically Start?
Most parents I speak with say that teething begins around six months of age. But really anytime during the first year of life is normal. The lower front teeth are usually the first ones to erupt. Then, the upper front teeth appear one or two months later. All 20 primary teeth will be in place by the time your child is three years old.
What Can I Do to Help My Baby with Teething?
There are several steps a parent can take when you notice that your baby is teething. Here are some ideas:
Gum Massage. Wash your hands with soap and water. Then, use your finger to counter the pressure that is causing your baby’s sore gums.
Cold Spoon. Keep a couple of your baby’s spoons in the refrigerator. When teething strikes, let your baby chew on the cold, rounded part.
Cold Washcloth. Dip a baby washcloth in water, formula, breast milk or chamomile tea. Then place in the frig or freezer to chill.
Cold Foods. If your baby has started eating solid food, try offering cold applesauce, yogurt, sweet potatoes or anything else you think will be comforting when served chilled.
Teething Rings. These come in all shapes and sizes, and they are made from a variety of materials. I especially like the kind that is liquid-filled. When you place it in the refrigerator, the ring retains the chill for quite some time.
Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. These over-the-counter pain relievers can work wonders when your baby just can’t get comfortable. However, be sure to check with your pediatrician first. Both acetaminophen and ibuprofen should have a doctor’s approval before being given to a child who is less than a year old.
Finally, don’t forget to schedule a dental checkup before your child’s first birthday. I want to make sure that adorable smile is healthy and developing appropriately.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. David Groy is a dentist in Leesburg, VA. He treats patients of all ages, helping each to enjoy the best of dental and oral health. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.