A Teething Child is Rarely Happy to Be Experiencing the Process
Teething starts at around 4-8 months, usually when the lower front teeth break through the gum.
Teeth eruption keeps happening until a child is 30-36 months when the last molars appear. Nonetheless, it is the first teeth that cause discomfort to many infants. A teething child usually experiences discomfort in the gum and jaws when a tooth erupts from the gum surface. Gum irritability and itchiness happens to many children. Sometimes there are additional symptoms like gum inflammation, swelling, and in a few cases, fluid forms over an erupting tooth creating something resembling a blood blister.
In addition to affecting gums, teething problems can cause sleep pattern disruption, mild temperature, drooling, and loss of appetite. Medical research does not show a relation between teething and vomiting, diarrhea, higher fever, intense coughing, and congestion. Many think they are a sign of teething, but pediatric experts insist they are not.
First Signs of Teething
It is difficult for parents to know the exact time when teeth will start erupting. It is upon them to look out for signs that show the onset of tooth eruption. Although every baby is different, these are the most frequent symptoms of teething.
- Drooling: Teething stimulates the release of more saliva, and it might happen every time those teeth are erupting. Parents should know that drooling is taking place when the baby’s shirts are constantly soggy.
- Coughing: The extra saliva triggered by teething can cause occasional coughing or gagging. It should not be severe.
- Irritability: Babies become irritable since teeth cause discomfort when erupting through the gums. The first teeth cause the most irritability followed by molars. The ache for other teeth is minimal.
- Teething rash: Constant drool drip can cause redness and rashes around the mouth, chin, and even neck and chest for some babies. A rash occurs as the drool will contain bits of food that irritate the skin.
- Biting and gnawing: Pressure from the teeth that are poling the gums creates an urge to bite anything babies can reach in an attempt to ease the discomfort. They even bite nipples when breastfeeding.
- Refusing food: Some kids refuse to feed because suckling or contact with solid foods makes their sore gums feel worse.
- Crying and whining: Some babies do not whine, but those with pain due to inflammation of their tender gums cry or whine to ‘communicate’ the pain.
- Frequent waking at night: The discomfort caused by the emergence of new teeth disrupts rest at night.
- Cheek rubbing and ear pulling: Babies may furiously tug at their ears and rub chins or cheeks, especially when molars are erupting. They can also rub their chins. An ache in the gums extends elsewhere, especially ears and cheeks, since they share nerve pathways with the gum.
Tips to Relief Baby Teething Symptoms
Teething is a natural process, but parents can do the following to reduce the discomfort:
- Provide some teething toys. Teething babies enjoy chewing on something because it provides counter-pressure to the gum and relieves aching as teeth push up.
- Massaging gums gently with a clean finger and letting the baby gnaw it if the teeth are not out. Massaging gums using a finger with a finger dipped in cool water discourages nipple biting.
- Applying cold on the gum relieves the pain of teething, soreness, and inflammation. Refrigerated toys, cold drinks for babies over 6 months, and cold food like refrigerated yogurt or frozen fruit help numb and relieve achy gums.
- Cuddling reduces irritability by making babies feel comfortable and reassurance
- Frequent wiping of areas with drool prevents rash from occurring due to bacteria from the saliva. A barrier cream relieves dry, chapped, or sore skin.
- Rubber teething rings are good for teething infants to chew, but they should not be the type with liquid inside because they can leak or break. Teething rings serve the purpose better if they are cold after chilling in the refrigerator and not a freezer. They should not be sterilized by boiling because it damages the plastic and makes chemicals leak.
- Teething biscuits are good for kids already eating solid foods to chew, but an adult should watch the baby to ensure pieces do not break off or cause a shocking hazard.
Parents want to do their best in relieving the discomfort of teething but should avoid teething aids made of a breakable material, frozen solid because they are too hard for the mouth, and those with liquid that can spill when they tear. It is also essential to avoid teething aids with harmful substances like lead or administer some OTC medications which can cause serious problems or blood disorders.