Teething

Each baby reacts differently to teething. Most babies have virtually no discomfort and make it through without any symptoms whatsoever. However for a few babies (and their Mums and Dads) teething isn’t a pleasant experience and everyone suffers due to baby’s sore and tender gums. This discomfort usually comes and goes and can cause baby to be fussy, irritable and wakeful. Other symptoms include increased biting, drooling, gum-rubbing, and sucking. You may also notice baby rubs his ears, has dribble rashes on his face or chin, has decreased appetite for solids and perhaps a mild increase in temperature

Remember though, teething doesn’t cause your baby to be unwell or sick. It does not cause diarrhoea, fever or vomiting. If your child has these problems take him to see a doctor.

Soothing your baby

There are many things you can do to help your baby if he has sore gums from teething.

  • Teething gels are available from the chemist. They numb your baby’s gums and offer temporary relief. These may not be effective if the child is drooling a lot, and must not be used more often than stated on the packet.
  • Often gentle pressure on the gums brings some relief. Try lightly rubbing baby’s gums with a clean finger or a small cool spoon.
  • Letting baby bite down on a clean washcloth can help.
  • Teething rings, especially those filled with gel and cooled in the fridge allow baby to chew on something soft and chilled.
  • Keep away those skin rashes on the face by washing away dribble with a warm clean flannel and applying a protective ointment like Sudocrem or Bepanthen.
  • If you are breastfeeding and your baby starts to bite you, you may like to take baby off the breast when he bites, have a short break then try again. Doing this every time will teach baby that biting will stop breastfeeding.

Just occasionally children may require paracetamol, follow the directions on the bottle.

When does teething start?

Usually your baby’s teeth begin to push through his gums at about six months, although teething can begin in infants as young as two months or as old as a year. By the time your child is three years old he will usually have twenty baby teeth.

Now’s the time

As soon as that first tooth appears that’s the time to begin baby’s life time teeth cleaning habit. Simply use a damp cloth or a soft small junior toothbrush and a very small smear of fluoride toothpaste to gently clean his teeth. You’ll find the easiest way to brush your baby’s teeth is to sit your child in your lap or on a chair and brush from behind.