When your baby starts teething, it’s no fun for anyone. It’s easy to helpless as your child goes through the discomfort that comes along with new teeth breaking through, especially since your little one doesn’t understand why he’s in pain. However, there are actually many ways you can make the teething process a bit easier for your baby.  

When Does Teething Generally Begin?
In most cases, babies begin to teeth when they’re around six months old, although teething can start a bit earlier or later in some children. Usually, it’s the two bottom front teeth that breakthrough first, following by the top two front teeth. Even before you first see a tooth peeking through, teething pain may occur because of the pressure of the tooth pushing against the gum as it prepares to erupt.

Signs Your Baby is Teething
How do you know when your baby is teething? Some of the most common symptoms of teething include:

Drooling
Ear pulling
Putting things in their mouth
Irritability
Biting
Rubbing at their face
Puffy gums
Decrease in appetite
Tender, sore gums
Low-grade fever
Crying more than normal
Difficulty sleeping
Fussiness

Tips for Easing Your Baby’s Discomfort While Teething
Once you know that your baby is teething, you can do several things to ease your baby’s discomfort. Helpful tips you can try to relieve the pain include:

Tip #1 – Massage the Gums – The swelling and pain that comes with teething can often be soothed by massaging the gums. Many babies start biting down on the sides of a crib or playpen when teething because they like the pressure. Use a clean finger to gently massage the gums to help reduce their pain.

Tip #2 – Hard Teething Toys – Many little ones love chewing on something hard because it adds pressure, and it can even speed up the teething process. Teething toys made of toxin-free plastic, rubber, or silicon are all great choices. Experiment a bit to see what your child likes the most, and make sure you keep teething toys clean.

Tip #3 – Use Something Cold – A cool washcloth or even a frozen washcloth can feel wonderful on your baby’s irritated gums. Plush teething toys that are chilled also make great options. You can dip them in a bit of breast milk and freeze them or put them in the refrigerator as well.

Tip #4 – Offer Chilled Food – Many babies don’t want to eat much while they’re teething, and since cold feels good on swollen gums, chilled food may help. Be sure to choose only healthy foods, such as soft frozen fruits if your baby is already eating solid food.

Tip #5 – Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers – Mayo Clinic recommends giving your baby over-the-counter pain relievers like Children’s Motrin or Children’s Tylenol if they are especially cranky and fussy while teething, although it’s a good idea to consult with your baby’s physician or dentist. However, it’s important to use these medications as directed.

Tip #6 – Skip Teething Medications with Lidocaine and Benzocaine – Some of the over-the-counter teething medications that contain lidocaine or benzocaine can actually prove harmful to your baby, and they’re not recommended. You’ll also want to avoid homeopathic teething tablets.

Don’t Forget That First Dental Visit
When your child begins teething, it’s time to start thinking about that first dental visit. It’s recommended that baby’s see a dentist by the age of one. As soon as your baby has teeth, there’s a risk of tooth decay. That first visit to the dentist is an excellent time for your child to get acquainted with the dentist and become familiar with the office. Your pediatric dentist can examine your child’s teeth and talk with you about how to begin properly caring for their teeth, how to prevent tooth decay, normal dental development, and some of the common habits like thumb sucking or sippy cups that can result in dental issues.

Although teething is normal, it can be difficult for you and your child. Try some of these tips to ease their discomfort and be ready to offer some extra snuggles to soothe them. Once your baby has teeth, give us a call, and we’ll get that first dental visit scheduled so you get a head start on keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy.