Oral Health Buzz
Ease Discomfort When Your Child Is Cutting Teeth
Wendy J. Woudstra
It's an exciting milestone for parents when their child begins cutting teeth, but it can also be distressing to realize that your baby is beginning a period of irritability and discomfort that you cannot prevent or cure. There are, however, some symptoms you can recognize and methods to relieve the discomfort of the teething process for your child. There are other symptoms that might appear during this time that may seem to be related to teething but are actually indicative of another issue. Read on to learn the difference.
Different children will suffer different symptoms to varying degrees during the teething process. Common symptoms include painful or sensitive gums, excessive drooling, lack of sleep, irritability and difficulties feeding, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
These symptoms can lead to an uncomfortable, cranky child and anxious, sleep deprived parents. So finding ways to alleviate the discomfort is important for both parent and child.
What To Do
- Give your child a cool, clean object like a teething ring. Chewing on something cool and hard can help alleviate some of his discomfort.
- Be diligent about what you allow your child to chew on. Make sure everything he puts in his mouth is clean and safe. If a teething ring drops on the ground, be sure to disinfect it before giving it back to your child.
- Rub your child's gums with a cold piece of gauze, a chilled spoon or your finger. This can help relieve some of the swelling and sensitivity.
- Wipe your child's face with a cool cloth. Removing the excess drool from your child's cheeks and chin will reduce the chance of a facial rash.
- Consult your pediatrician on what they recommend to handle teeth erupting in the mouth.
Common sense is usually the best course of action when dealing with a teething child. Matching your interventions to the amount of discomfort and irritability your child is displaying is a good rule of thumb.
Be Aware of What Symptoms Aren't Related to Teething
According to a study in the Western Journal of Medicine, many severe symptoms, and even death, were historically attributed to cutting teeth. Even today, it is common for parents to attribute symptoms such as fever and diarrhea to their child's erupting teeth.
It is unwise and potentially dangerous to shrug off what could be symptoms of a serious illness. During the period between six and 30 months, when teething occurs, infants are generally exposed to a wide variety of childhood diseases while their passive immunity from their mother's antibodies decreases.
While a slightly elevated temperature and reddened cheeks may be symptomatic of tooth eruption, fever and diarrhea are not and should be addressed by a physician as soon as possible.
Being aware of your child's teething symptoms and reacting intelligently and proportionately to them is the best way to deal with this difficult period in your child's growth.
Alleviating the worst of the symptoms of cutting teeth while being aware of what is not related to teething can help both you and your child sleep, eat and enjoy your time together in health and safety.
Learn more about infant teething at the Colgate Oral Care resources.