Teething 101

teething 101

Teething hacks every parent needs to know.

Teething is a dreaded word in the parenting community, and rightfully so. It is often accompanied by a crying and irritable child that is in pain. A baby’s first tooth usually appears at around 6 months old (this can vary from child to child), and is the first step in helping to maintain the space in their gums for adult teeth, assisting speech and starting a nutritious diet.

But it is painful for them. Common signs that your baby may be teething are:

  • red swollen gums
  • flushed cheeks
  • dribbling
  • irritability
  • a slight fever
  • pulling the ear on the same side as the erupting tooth
  • sucking fingers and fists.

Often, people tend to blame illnesses on teething, such as vomiting, diarrhea, persistent or high temperatures. The medical world is insistent that teething does not cause these things, so if your baby is experiencing any of those symptoms, rather take them to the doctor.

This diagram will help you predict what tooth to expect when, taking into account that not every child sticks to this exact timeline:

Tooth TypeAge
Central incisors6 to 10 months
Lateral incisors10 to 16 months
Canine17 to 23 months
1st baby molar14 to 18 months
2nd baby molar23 to 31 months

Source: https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au

So what can you do to help your little one get through these teething stages? To help ease inflamed gums and numb pain, try using frozen (not liquid) teething rings, a clean cold wash cloth or a refrigerated dummy for your baby to suck and chew on. A gentle gum massage with a clean finger dipped in cold water can work wonders, and there are many teething gels you can use as well, just check with your doctor which ones are safe. Stay away from over-the-counter teething gels and liquids that have the ingredient benzocaine. This ingredient shouldn’t be given to children under 2.

There is also the option of pain relievers in the form of medication which can help keep slight temperatures under control. Again, like with any medication, it is important that you check with your doctor which ones are safe to use and in what quantities.

An ongoing debate around teething necklaces has left a lot of parents indecisive. Our rule of thumb is if the doctors say no – then it is best to follow suit. And doctors have said that they are unsafe as the beads may come off and pose a choking hazard. The same is said for Amber necklaces, while they pose a threat for choking, the pain relief supposed to be found in the amber has yet to be scientifically proven.

If your baby is already on solids, try sticking to a diet that helps ease inflammation in the body. Stay away from refined sugars and white carbohydrates such as potatoes and white rice.

Toptots Early Learning SA

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