How can I make teething easier?

Is your baby drooling more, chewing on everything and seeming to be more cranky with disrupted sleep and eating patterns?

Are your baby’s gums tender and swollen?

Teething usually begins between 4 and 7 months, with the bottom front teeth (central incisors) first to appear.

Don’t be alarmed

Don’t be alarmed if your baby begins this process earlier or later than this, there are many variabilities! Some babies don’t seem to notice that their pearly whites are coming through, while others may seem more cranky for weeks!

Teething is believed to cause some localized inflammation of the gum – anything that can help lower this inflammatory process may help.

Here are some tips for keeping your baby safe and comfortable while teething:

  • Gently massage baby’s gums with a clean finger.
  • Teething toys and rings chilled in the refrigerator (NOT the freezer) can be helpful.
  • Teething biscuits can be used for babies who have started eating solid foods. Remember to always supervise babies while chewing on these!
  • Try mesh food holders with frozen fruit/veggies for a tasty, soothing treat.
  • Offering a frozen, clean and wet washcloth to chew on can provide some relief.
  • For more significant discomfort, acetaminophen and ibuprofen given at the correct dose and frequency can be very effective painkillers.
  • AVOID teething gels and tablets. These can be harmful to babies.
  • “Natural” or homeopathic remedies such as Amber teething necklaces are NOT recommended. Keep in mind that necklaces and other jewelry for infants pose a choking or strangulation risk. If you do choose to try an amber teething necklace, it is better to put it on your baby’s wrist or ankle. Never leave the necklace on your baby unattended or allow your baby to wear it while sleeping!

Read about the AAPD’s recommendations on oral health.

Read More

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About Andrea Fiume, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Andrea Fiume studied medicine at the University of Toronto and paediatrics at McMaster University, where she is completing training as a Clinician Investigator with specialization in Medical Education. She loves pediatric medicine and education, and being a mom to her amazing baby boy.

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