Is your baby teething? Here's what you should expect
All you need to know about teething
Written by Debjani Arora|Updated : September 26, 2014 10:58 AM IST
While teeth have their own importance and functions, the process of teething in babies isn't all that pleasing. Often babies cry and scream in pain making parents anxious to figure how to soothe their aching little gums. 'Teething commonly happens between 6 to 24 months of age. But it can also start as early as 3 months or as late as 12 months. The lower front teeth are the first to erupt followed by the upper front teeth,' informs Dr Tanu Singhal, consultant pediatrician Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai. Imagine what it can mean to babies where a sharp tooth makes its appearance cutting through those sore aching gums. You can only imagine the plight, pain and discomfort they have to go through.
Even though teething can cause pain, babies don't always cry it out. They can't comprehend what a pain or discomfort in the gum is, so sometimes they communicate about it differently. Watch out for the signs closely.
Your baby is irritable and fussy. Don't get upset, check the gums. Your baby has started teething.
Refuses to eat or drink. Don't force feed. Teething pains kill appetite.
Drools often and more than usual. This is the most important sign that says teeth are on their way. Your baby isn't drooling because you are having dessert, chocolate or candy in front of him, that's a myth most people harbor.
May bite or chew on your fingers, hands or anything that comes their way. Chewing or biting on something soothes their gums for a while.
Shouts and makes loud noises for no rhyme or reason. This is no tantrum; this is the only way they can communicate their pain to you.
Tips to alleviate teething pain:
Once you know that your baby has started teething, try the following to soothe the sore gums and ensure some instant relief.
Give a gum massage. If you can see the edges of the teeth about to erupt while your baby frets, try a gentle massage on the gums with a clean finger or cloth. 'Refrain from using any kind of anesthetic gels to soothe pain,' advices Dr Singhal.
Buy teethers. Get an appropriate teething ring - gel based, water based, plastics (preferably BPA free) for your baby to bite on. 'A cold teething ring can be a good pick, but avoid giving a frozen one as it might cause injury to the gums,' says Dr Singhal.
Go natural. If you give your baby a piece of cold vegetable to chew on, like a piece of carrot, remember to do it under strict supervision. 'Your baby might bite off a piece of the vegetable completely which can possibly lead to a choking threat,' warns Dr Singhal.
Keep off other snags. Keep a clean soft cloth handy to wipe the saliva that drools out to prevent your baby from getting a rash on the face and neck. Do everything to ensure you don't add more pain to your already distressed baby. Know more ways to take care of your baby's oral hygiene.
Keep medications as the last option. Try all the possible ways to help your baby deal with the discomfort of teething because there is no way you can banish pain. 'For severe discomfort paracetamol can be offered at an interval of six or eight hours for each dose. Though there is no scientific evidence, homeopathy medication can also help soothe teething pain,' informs Dr Singhal.
Keep in mind:
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Fever and diarrhea are not a common occurrence. 'If your baby is suffering from fever or diarrhea seek a doctor's appointment. Do not sit over it attributing them to teething. They aren't a symptom of teething,' says Dr Singhal.
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