Teething, whilst it can be painful for your baby and worrying for you, it is a key stage in every child’s life. We’ve put together Your Complete Guide to Teething, including symptoms, soothers and aftercare.
When does Teething happen?
Your baby’s first teeth start to develop in the womb. Usually, teeth begin to grow during your baby’s first year, but some babies are born with their first teeth and others don’t see any growth until after 12 months. Every child is different and there is no time frame to when they will get their first tooth, however by the 18 months – 3 years, your baby will more than likely have a full set of teeth.
What happens exactly?
If you’re experiencing teething, you probably know that your baby is currently very uncomfortable. This is because teething makes the gums swell and tender to touch. You may also see their gum split slightly to make way for the emerging tooth.
Sometimes teething can occur with no discomfort at all, however, there are a few symptoms you can look out for; your baby’s gum is sore and red, one cheek is flushed, more dribble than usual, they are rubbing their ear, they are chewing on a lot more things.
How you can help
Teething can, understandably, make your baby super grumpy, which can be tough on you too. Whilst you can’t take their pain away completely, there are ways to make the process easier for them.
When your baby is teething they’re more likely to try and chew everything they can get their hands on. Teething rings give your baby something to chew safely whilst distracting them from any pain. Some teething rings can be cooled in the fridge first which may also help to soothe their gums.
Amber Teething Necklaces / Bracelets
According to advocates, Baltic amber contains a ‘natural painkiller’ called succinic acid. When a baby wears the necklace, their body heat then releases the chemical from the gemstone and it gets absorbed into the skin, thereby easing the pain.
Whilst there is no scientific evidence that amber necklaces work, we have many parents who swear by the technique for helping to teethe. If you plan to use the Amber Teething technique, please follow safety instructions carefully.
If your baby is chewing and 6 months or older, you can give them snacks to chew on such as raw fruit and vegetables, or even try breadsticks. Try to avoid any foods that contain lots of sugar, as this can cause tooth decay, even if they only have a few teeth.
Teething Granules / Teething Powder
A homoeopathic remedy specifically designed for the soothing and calming relief of teething symptoms. Just shake the powder into your baby’s mouth to help to soothe their gums. Teething Powders are not recommended for us in babies under 3 months.
We usually use Teething Powders in nursery before we turn to using medicines.
There is a lack of evidence that teething gels are effective, and we recommend trying non-medical options first. If you do decide to use a teething gel, make sure it is one specially designed for young children.
Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
Not just for your headache from lack of sleep, if your baby is in pain, you may want to give them a sugar-free painkilling medicine. Paracetamol or Ibuprofen can be given to relieve teething symptoms in babies and young children from 3 months or older.
Always follow instructions and speak to your GP or pharmacist first.
Sometimes, there’s nothing like a cuddle to distract your baby from the pain. Try to divert their attention from the pain by holding them or playing with them.
Babies tend to dribble a lot more when they are teething, some dribble almost constantly, soaking their clothes. Make sure you’re gently wiping the moisture off your baby’s chin as often as you can with a soft cotton cloth, be careful not to rub the chin as it may be sore and irritable for your baby. You could also rub some barrier cream such as petroleum jelly on their chin to protect their skin from further irritation.
Don’t forget, every baby is different, so you may have to try a few different things until you find something that works for you.
With all methods, especially medicines, please read and follow instructions carefully and consult a doctor or pharmacist before use.
Caring for your baby’s teeth
As soon as your baby’s teeth begin to grow, you need to start caring for them. You should brush your children’s teeth at least twice a day.
At first, it may be easier to clean their teeth with a piece of clean cloth or gauze wrapped around your finger, but as more teeth come through you will need to buy a toothbrush. There are toothbrushes specifically designed for young children with small heads and soft bristles. The toothbrush should be changed every three months or when the bristles begin to splay.
When it comes to toothpaste, you will need to choose one that is suitable for children as adult toothpaste contain too much fluoride. It is also a good idea to get your children used to visiting the dentist at an early age.