Happy baby with teething toy.

We all know it is a normal part of the baby phase, but the truth is that teething can be painful for babies and their parents. It’s hard to feel helpless when your little one is in pain. Here are some valuable tips for parents to help ease your baby’s discomfort.

Understanding Teething

Teething is the process by which an infant’s first teeth, also known as baby teeth or primary teeth, make their way through the gums. This typically begins around the age of 4-7 months but can vary from child to child. Some babies even begin teething at 2-3 months of age.

Unfortunately, teething isn’t one-and-done. Over time, a total of 20 primary teeth will emerge, paving the way for the eventual growth of permanent teeth.

What to Expect During Teething

Teething comes with many symptoms. Being on the lookout can help you to understand your child’s crabbiness and help ease their pain.

  • Irritability: As the teeth push through the gums, your baby may become irritable and fussy. This is because the pressure and inflammation in the gums can cause discomfort.
  • Frequent Waking: It is normal for babies to wake during the night. However, if your baby is waking more often than normal, it might be due to teething.
  • Drooling: Excessive drooling is common during teething. Be prepared to keep a bib handy and gently wipe your baby’s chin to prevent irritation.
  • Chewing and Gnawing: Babies often find relief by chewing on objects. They may reach for toys, teething rings, or their fingers (sometimes even their entire fists!) to alleviate the discomfort in their gums.
  • Swollen Gums: You may notice that your baby’s gums become red and swollen around the area where a tooth is about to break through.
  • Changes in Appetite: Some babies experience a decrease in appetite during teething due to the discomfort in their mouths.

Tips for Easing Discomfort

When you recognize signs that your child is teething, you can try some methods to help ease their discomfort.

Teething Toys

Gnawing on objects is an instinctive way that babies soothe their gum discomfort. Provide your baby with clean and safe teething toys or rings. Keep in mind that babies have different preferences, and you may have to offer several options until your little one finds a teether he likes.

Chilled Objects

Refrigerate a teething ring or a damp washcloth (placed in a sealed bag to keep it clean) and let your baby chew on it. The cold can provide relief to sore and swollen gums. But be careful not to freeze objects, as excessive cold can have a harmful effect on fragile gum tissue.

Gentle Gum Massage

You can use your clean fingers to gently massage your baby’s gums. Being close to you can also help your child feel comfort.

Teething Gel or Cream

Consult your pediatrician or dentist for safe teething gels or creams that can be applied to your baby’s gums. Always follow the recommended dosage and guidelines.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

If all else fails, you can use over-the-counter infant pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Always check with your child’s pediatrician before using any medication, and be sure to use medication specially formulated for babies, following dosing carefully.

Schedule Early Dental Appointments

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry encourages you to schedule your baby’s first dental appointment within six months of their first tooth eruption or by their first birthday. Early dental visits can help create a strong foundation for your child’s future oral health and provide guidance on proper care as they continue to grow. More teething questions? Contact us to schedule an appointment. It is never too early!