By Dr. Mugdha Gulati Motani
Is your child feeling irritable and cranky and you cannot figure out the reason? Is he refusing to eat? Is saliva drooling from his mouth and is also experiencing a mild temperature and a loose tummy? The chances are he/she is teething. It’s a process when baby teeth (milk teeth) sequentially erupt through gums. Even though it is a physiological / natural process, it is usually an uncomfortable period for both the parents and the babies.
Teeth start developing while the baby is still in the womb but can erupt one at a time or break through over period of months. Most babies sprout their teeth when they are 5-7 months old. There is no exact time and pattern of how teeth will erupt and has no effect on health of a child.
Signs and symptoms usually vary among different children. These symptoms may usually begin about 3-5 days before the tooth shows and disappear as soon as the tooth breaks out.
It’s a common understanding that babies having high fever around the eruption age or rashes around the mouth is due to teething, but at this age kids are losing maternal antibody protection to herpes virus. Hence, any such viral illnesses should be kept in mind and clinical signs and symptoms should be kept under a check.
Signs that your baby is teething:
• Irritability/ fussiness/ mood changes
• Chewing on fingers or anything they can grab
• Drooling of saliva; leading to mild redness around the mouth
• Swollen or sensitive gums
• Loss of appetite
• Trouble sleeping/ restlessness
• Mild rise in body temperature, runny nose or sometimes diarrhea.
How can you make him feel better?
It is important to assess these signs and symptoms and once it is established that teething is the cause of upset, few of these simple techniques can provide immense relief to the child.
• If your child is facing discomfort due to erupting teeth, firm rubber teething rings (known as teethers/ pacifiers) or a cold washcloth (chilled in a refrigerator, not a freezer) can be given to chew on.
Make sure it’s big enough to chew on to avoid risks of choking. Never tie a teething ring around baby’s neck.
• Rubbing the sore gums gently with a clean finger can help ease the pain for a short time.
• Cold foods like yoghurts can relieve the discomfort temporarily.
• If these common methods don’t work, common pain medications (not all) can be recommended for the babies after discussing with the doctor. Do not place aspirin or alcohol on sore gums.
• Some numbing gels can be applied on the sore gums in small doses to ease the pain.
Note: Benzocaine products that are easily available over the counter should be avoided in children under 2 years of age as recommended by Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
It has been found to be associated with some serious and fatal conditions where amount of oxygen being carried by the blood is reduced.
Similarly, some homeopathic medications containing belladonna are not advised or approved by the FDA to be given to babies under 2 years of age.
Teething could be a painful process but you can avoid sleepless nights and endless tears. Once you learn all the teething signs, it will be easier to pin point the best remedy for your baby.
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
By Dr. Mugdha Gulati Motani
BDS, Associate Dental Surgeon
Former Trainee, CDER, AIIMS
Certified Aesthetic Dental Surgeon
Specialist at Dantah
Twitter : @mugdha2801
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org