How To

The Teething Pain of Babies and How to Get Through It

While we envy little babies for their luxurious lifestyle, napping, having everyone wait for the hand and foot, they have woe of their own. They are unable to express their feeling verbally but let out a cry whenever they are hungry or when they need their diapers changed, most of them need a mother’s care and attention to have their needs understood and met. One such pain of the infants is Teething pain.

What is Teething?

A child’s dentition is an important part of their physiology. The importance of teeth is basic- we need to consume food, we need teeth for proper speech function, and last but not least for esthetic purposes.  When a child is about 4 months to 6/7 months (12 in some extreme cases), their first tooth erupts. But the process of erupting isn’t the same for every child, while some have it easy, some are really troubles. The pain accompanying the eruption of the baby teeth is known as Teething pains.

Teething Pain of Babies

Teething usually starts around four to eight months with the lower front teeth and continues until 30-36 months of age when the last set of molars appear. The babies may seem cranky for weeks, with crying spells and disrupted sleeping and eating patterns.

Signs and symptoms of Teething

In most children, the eruption of primary teeth is preceded by symptoms such as

  • Baby’s gum is sore and red where the tooth is coming through
  • One cheek is flushed
  • They are rubbing their ear
  • Increased salivation
  • Putting hands and fingers into the mouth
  • Restless and fretful
  • Increase the amount of finger sucking and rubbing of the gums
  • Gnawing or wanting to chew on a hard thing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loose motion in some cases
  • In extreme cases fever and convulsion.

These symptoms were reported by 70-80 percent of parents according to an article from the British Dental Journal.

Teething can be painful, but it doesn’t usually make babies sick. Call your doctor if your baby has diarrhea, vomiting, rashes on the body, a higher fever, or cough and congestion. These aren’t normal signs of teething.

Some people often confuse teething for a common cold. Some people say that during the same time n an infant’s immunities which they received from their mother, via the placenta, diminish. This means that the infant’s own immune system is becoming established. During this time, infants become vulnerable to minor infections, and parents might be confused.

Teething Pain Remedies for Babies

Let’s go through the symptoms and try to remedy it:

Fretfulness and Irritability

If you had something cutting through your gums and cannot do anything about it, you’d be irritated too. The gums are itchy and they do not understand what is happening.

Remedy – shower your child with lots of love and cuddles. Babies are often needy for their primary caregivers because of the bond they have and can be soothed by their presence.

Drooling / Coughing/ Rashes

Pools of saliva accumulate in your child’s mouth during the eruption of teeth. The drools around the mouth often cause rashes on their skin surrounding the mouth. Also, as a result of excessive fluid in their tiny mouth, they can gag and cough due to it.

Remedy: wipe your child’s mouth with a clean and soft towel as gently as frequently as possible. Use baby moisturizer to prevent chaffing and decrease redness. Cool towels are helpful. Coughing if accompanied by fever can be indicative of other health problems as well, hence visit the Pediatrician soon. Try and give our baby tummy time so the drool isn’t gagged upon instead comes out of the mouth.

Itchy gums

The red swollen gums ready to house precious teeth are the main culprit for the discomfort.

Remedy –  To alleviate the pain of the gums something cold in your baby’s mouth helps. Try a cold pacifier, spoon, clean wet washcloth, or a solid (not liquid) refrigerated teething toy or ring. Some experts say frozen teething toys are too cold and may hurt your baby’s mouth. Make sure to clean teething toys, washcloths, and other items after the baby uses them. The best way could be a wet washcloth placed in the freezer for 30 minutes. Be sure to take it out of the freezer before it becomes rock hard — you don’t want to bruise those already swollen gums — and be sure to wash it after each use.

A hard, unsweetened teething cracker can be comforting if you have started. If your baby is older than 6-9 months, you can offer cool water from a Sippy cup, too. Be sure to watch your baby to make sure that no pieces break off or pose a choking hazard. You could also try giving your baby a crust of bread or a breadstick. Avoid any foods that contain lots of sugar, as this can cause tooth decay, even if your child only has a few teeth.

If you’re nursing your baby, try dipping your fingers in cool water and massaging their gums before each feeding. That may keep them from biting your nipple while nursing.

You can also massage their gums by gently rubbing them with your clean finger. If the teeth haven’t come in yet, you can let your baby gnaw on your finger.

Use teethers: 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 that contained lead.

The ACCC recently issued a product safety statement about the amber teething necklaces, warning of possible choking and strangulation hazards. It advised parents to consider other less risky methods of providing relief from teething.

Do not sterilize plastic teething rings in boiling water or dishwater, unless specified by the manufacturer. Be sure to check the product information before buying teething rings. Avoid the ones that use a plastic softener called ‘diisononyl phthalate’

Pain-relieving medications – Paracetamol is effective for children. Ibuprofen may also be effective, but it causes more frequent adverse reactions in children. Dosage as directed by the physician. But never place an aspirin against the tooth, and don’t rub alcohol on your baby’s gums. Children under 16 years old should not have aspirin.

Teething Gels- The Food and Drug Administration recommends that parents and caregivers not use benzocaine products for children younger than 2. “We are also warning that benzocaine oral drug products should only be used in adults and children 2 years and older if they contain certain warnings on the drug label,” the FDA said in a May 2018 statement.

If you do decide to use a gel, make sure you use a teething gel that’s specially designed for young children. Teething gels contain a mild local anesthetic and are only available from pharmacies. Speak to a pharmacist for further advice. There’s no evidence that homeopathic teething gels are effective. If you use a homeopathic gel, make sure it’s licensed for use in your country.

Cheek rubbing and ear pulling

This is caused by pain in the gums, which can travel to the cheek and ear, especially when the molars are erupting. Infants will rub those areas.  Ear pulling or rubbing can also be a sign of an ear infection, please contact a pediatrician if this symptom continues or is accompanied by a high fever.

Remedy – Try rubbing and massaging the gums with a clean finger for one to two minutes to help with the discomfort.

Diarrhea

Many believe that the increased saliva produced during teething can cause stool to become slightly loose. Also maybe because the baby might put unclean objects into their mouth. Keep in mind, diarrhea can be a sign of a more serious infection so contact your infant’s pediatrician if the stool becomes watery, because your infant could be at risk for dehydration.

Remedy – Hydration, nutrition, and physicians advise.

When the first teeth of the child erupt it’s time to take them for their first dental visit. Always remember this is a phase, don’t worry but be alert and vigilant, and don’t forget to shower your baby with lots of love and cuddles.


References: NHSAmerican Dental Association 

Hi, I'm Dr. Swati, a dentist by profession, closeted writer by passion. Mother to a 4-year-old daughter, I believe a raising a child is an arduous yet rewarding task, and one must avail themselves all the aide you get.

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