Infant Teething Tips, How to Keep Your Baby Comfortable While Cutting Teeth

Baby girl chewing on a teething toy

The appearance of a baby’s first tooth is a landmark moment in early development and the perfect time to schedule your baby’s first dental appointment. Parents can expect their baby’s first tooth (usually the bottom front teeth) to erupt between 6 and 12 months of age and the last primary tooth to come in by about 3 years. As exciting as it is to see that little tooth poke through, it can also be a challenging, fussy time for your baby. For parents wondering how to help a teething baby, scheduling that first dental visit is a proactive step.

5 Common Signs and Symptoms of Teething

Even before the first tooth erupts, you might see signs of teething in your baby’s behavior and know that it’s coming. Here are a few signs to watch out for when the time for teething has arrived. These are normal responses to the pain of teething and should be temporary.

  1. Excessive drooling – Babies aren’t known for having control of their salivary glands, but if you notice an increase in the slobber levels, that could be a sign that teeth are on their way.
  2. Chewing, gumming, or gnawing – One of the first ways infants explore the world around them is by putting things in their mouths. However, if you notice your baby chowing down on toys or other objects more than usual, it might be because they are soothing the dull ache of erupting teeth, a natural teething remedy.
  3. Pain or discomfort – Babies are born with a full set of teeth already waiting inside the gums. As teeth erupt, they pierce the gums causing moderate discomfort and soreness.
  4. Mood changes – Teething can be uncomfortable at best and painful at worst. Just like adults, pain can negatively impact a baby’s mood and behavior. You can expect your kiddos to be a little crankier while they’re cutting teeth.
  5. Loss of appetite – In some cases, babies may have a harder time eating or have difficulty latching while nursing if they are teething. The lactation consultants at Families First Pediatrics are well-versed in this particular challenge and are ready to help answer your questions.

Teething Tips and Tricks

Teething is no fun, there’s no getting around it, but there are a few at-home solutions that might help you and your baby take the edge off until their new tooth pokes through.

  • Gently rub gums – Applying gentle pressure with a clean finger or soft cloth can help temporarily relieve discomfort. This is a simple yet effective baby teething relief strategy.
  • Teething Ring – Allow your baby to chew on a rubber teething ring to reduce inflammation and pain. While it isn’t recommended that you freeze it, Placing it in the fridge for 10 minutes will allow it to get cold and ease the swelling. Such baby teething remedies can offer some comfort.
  • Pain medication – If needed, you can use over-the-counter children’s pain medication. Talk with your child’s pediatrician before giving any medications.
  • Keep their mouth dry – Excess drool can irritate nearby skin if it isn’t kept dry. Cutting new teeth is hard enough without chapped lips or cheeks. For those pondering what to do for a teething baby, keeping their mouth dry is a practical tip.

Things to Avoid When Your Baby is Teething

We know that teething can be challenging, even for parents, and you might be willing to try just about anything. With that in mind, there are a few commonly touted at-home remedies which should be avoided for the health and safety of your baby.

  • Teething necklaces – While teething toys can be effective, teething necklaces present a possible choking hazard.
  • Teething creams and gels – While these over-the-counter oral anesthetics have been shown to be effective at reducing pain, they often contain compounds which can be dangerous to babies.
  • Frozen teething toys – Chewing toys and cold are two effective ways to reduce pain, leading some parents to put teething toys in the freezer. At those temperatures, teething toys can cause damage to your baby’s mouth and the material can break, posing a choking hazard.

Teething carries a mixture of emotions for babies and parents but the sight of those precious, drool-covered, toothy smiles, is the kind of heartwarming reward that makes every sleepless night and cranky day completely worthwhile. Remembering these teething tips can help navigate this phase with a bit more ease. And when those first teeth poke through, there’s an entire team of pediatric dentists, orthodontists, pediatricians, lactation consultants, and more to ensure that future smile stays healthy and bright. In the journey of teething, professional guidance and the right teething treatment are invaluable

Blake McDonald, DDS

Blake McDonald, DDS

Blake practices dentistry in our Bluffdale Pediatric Dental office.

a happy father receives a kiss from his son

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