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Teething usually doesn’t come without its toll on tots and parents alike and refers to the emergence of the first teeth through a baby’s gums.
When a baby begins teething, there can be no set pattern or prediction regarding when teething might begin, how long the process will take, and how painful will it be.
For some babies cutting a tooth might happen overnight and relatively painlessly, while for others it might be a protracted and painful experience.
You may sometimes visibly notice swelling or a bump in the gum for several weeks, while, at times, there may be no discernible clue of teething at all, until the tooth really begins to appear.
First Baby Teething Symptoms & Signs
The process of teething often follows hereditary patterns which can vary depending on whether one or both of the parents teethed early or late.
On average the first tooth comes in during the seventh month, although it can also arrive as early as three months, or as late as a year. In rare cases however, the process of teething can even strike earlier or later than that.
Due to this wide variation in patterns, parents and physicians frequently disagree over the symptoms of teething and how painful the process can be.
Most parents, however, agree over the various symptoms of teething, but it is always advisable to check with your pediatrician to rule out any additional causes of the symptoms. Below are some of the commonly observed signs and symptoms of teething.
As a razor sharp little tooth rises to the surface, trying to make its way out, a baby’s gums may become increasingly sore and tender.
The pain and uneasiness that the baby experiences, is most often, worst during the first few eruptions. Later, when the molars try to erupt, they can also cause uneasiness due to their bigger size.
However, babies often become accustomed to the various sensations of teething and are acclimatized to the pain, a condition that helps them cope better with the discomfort.
Most babies do, though, become cranky during this period of teething and demand special attention from mothers and those around them.
At the ages of three to four months babies often begin drooling or salivating more often than usual, a condition that is triggered by the onset of teething.
Drooling can be worse in some babies than in others and should be treated as a common sign of teething.
Extra saliva can cause a baby to occasionally cough or gag.
Again, this is usually nothing to worry about as long as the baby seems fine and shows no signs of cold or flu and does not run fever.
4) Biting and gnawing
A baby who is teething will chew and gum down on anything they can get their mouth around.
The counter pressure from biting on something helps alleviate the pressure from under the gums.
5) Chin rash
Babies who are constantly drooling make constant contact with saliva that can cause the skin around the chin and mouth to become sore and irritated.
In order to prevent this from happening the baby’s mouth and chin should be wiped repeatedly with soft wipes.
This is one of the oldest, yet most disagreed upon symptoms of teething.
Physicians and parents often hold varying points of view, while most parents claim to notice somewhat looser bowel movements when a baby is teething.
Recent studies suggest this to be the most common symptom of teething, but there are still a lot of people who do not agree with this research.
It is suggested that the most likely cause of this is the extra saliva swallowed by the baby, which loosens the stool.
7) Low-grade fever
Fever is another symptom that doctors are, at times, hesitant to directly link with teething.
Parents often disagree with this though, as most observe that their babies usually get fever with the onset of teething.
The fever, however, should not last for more than a couple of days and it is always advisable to seek medical help in case it does.
8) Cheek rubbing and ear pulling
Pain in the gums may travel to the ears and cheeks, particularly when the molars, located at the back, begin to come in.
A baby may rub their cheeks or pull at their ears when the pain gets more severe.
Though pulling at an ear can also be a sign of ear infection, and again in this type of ambiguity it is best to consult a physician.
9) Disturbed sleeping patterns
The pain of teething can extend well over days and nights and can disturb a baby’s sleep cycle due to the same reason.
The baby might also have quite a few sleepless nights and furthermore keeps the parents up, when the pain gets bad enough.
Most parents assert that the night waking is more common during the first set of teeth and also when the molars begin to appear.
10) Cold-like symptoms:
Runny noses, coughing and general cold symptoms are believed to come from the baby having their hands in their mouth more often during teething, though there can be other reasons as well.
All the symptoms of cold seem to accompany teething but the parents can play it safe by consulting a doctor if the symptoms are too rigorous.
6 Remedies for soothing sore gums.
Teething brings mixed feelings for parents. On one hand there is the joy of seeing your baby flash a pearly smile, while on the other hand the pain and discomfort accompanying the process can cause inconvenience to everyone.
Here are some ways to alleviate the distress accompanying teething and relieve the twinge your baby may suffer.
1) Teething gel
Sugar-free teething gels or powders which can be rubbed on your baby’s gums are one of the plausible options to go for.
Such balms are however not intended for babies under four months of age.
Teething gels massaged into the gums with a clean finger can provide fast-acting and targeted relief.
Look for ones that are sugar-free and color-free and make sure you check the dosage instructions and expiry date.
2) Teething ring
A teething ring can be another good option to exercise. We can also substitute the ring with dried crusts of bread or peeled carrot sticks.
Sometimes babies also munch on their fingers. In case of carrots or other food items it is advisable not to leave the baby unattended for fear of choking.
Baby bagels or popsicles, sugar-free teething biscuits or unsweetened rusks can also be some of the options.
3) Cuddle Therapy:
Give the baby extra comfort and whatever else you need to do to help relieve the misery.
A little extra tender loving care goes a long way when the baby is having a hard time teething. Hugs and cuddles will help comfort and reassure the baby if they are distressed
4) Massaging Gums and Mouth
Other ways of helping your child cope with the pain of a coming tooth include simply massaging the gums with your own finger, which can alleviate the tooth pain by equalizing the pressure on the gums as the tooth below is pressing upwards.
Pacifiers may also help, and you may keep spare binkies in the fridge.
Sometimes, cold washcloth is also used to relieve the pain. It can also absorb some of the drool that can otherwise drench an infant from head to toe.
5) Cold foods and drinks:
Cold helps to numb the pain, so chilled yogurts, unsweetened apple puree or other baby foods help. Likewise, cool drinks can help soothe the whole mouth. Try cooling boiled water or extra breast or formula milk in the refrigerator.
Analgesics are always helpful. Baby versions of both Motrin and Tylenol are possible options, and it is possible to get a child’s correct dosage of Ibuprofen from the pharmacist.
Infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen can provide stronger pain relief on occasion, if necessary.
However, it is always advisable to consult your physician before using medication. Homeopathic pain killers may also be useful.
Hylans makes a teething remedy that’s known as safe and effective.
Things Parents Need to Know!!
Often young mothers panic at the onset of teething. They need to bear in mind that teething is a natural and normal phenomenon and all it requires is a set of ways to mitigate the pain and uneasiness that your baby might endure.
Young teethers can’t talk. Mothers can’t know the moment teething pain starts and stops. Teething pain and its remedies are very difficult to evaluate scientifically.
Therefore, we must rely on general observation, as well as, specific observations based on our own children.
When the mouth becomes a source of pain, it is quite disturbing for babies. The intrusion of a hard, sharp tooth through tender, swollen gums can be quite an change.
Some get used to it quickly, but at first it can be more uncomfortable than a pebble in a shoe. Whatever you try for your baby, be careful that the object is not something a baby might choke on.
It is also preferable to avoid foods that are too hard as these could bruise the gums and cause further pain. Try to keep their skin as dry as possible, a bib will help.
Applying a simple barrier cream can also help keep the skin soft and may ease any chapped skin. Everything that your baby chews on should certainly be clean and definitely not frozen.
The Gift of a Pearly White Smile
Children grow twenty primary teeth, which is a full set of teeth by the time they are around two or three years old.
These teeth usually last until about the age of six, when the teeth that were first to appear become loose and fall out as the second set of teeth begin to push through the gums.
The primary teeth continue falling out until roughly the age of twelve. These ages are only averages and a child may follow an earlier or later pattern.
The following is the most common pattern in which a baby’s teeth usually appear.
- 6 months: lower central incisors
- 8 months: upper central incisors
- 10 months: lower and upper lateral incisors
- 14 months: first molars
- 18 months: canines
- 24 months: second molars