Everyone has different pain thresholds and that includes your toddler. As a parent, it can be hard to know whether those 3-in-the-morning wake-up calls are due to the toddler teething phase, poor sleep habits, an incoming cold or separation anxiety. Harder still is the reality that the teething phase is a long one and varies from child to child. Read on for tips on supporting your toddler and maintaining your own well-being while teeth are coming in.
Coping With The Toddler Teething Phase
Teething in toddlers is similar to baby teething: for some, it hurts, and for others, it's a breeze. The biggest difference is that some toddlers are more able to communicate their discomfort. Some use their words, but for many weary kids, it comes in the form of more strenuous cries or longer tantrums. It can be a guessing game to know if teething is the true source of the irritation. Looking for certain signs may help you better diagnose the distress.
- Just like when they were a baby, your toddler will reach for something to chew, from a soft rubber toy to their fingers.
- A child might rub their ear frequently on the side a tooth is cutting.
- Good sleepers can become poor sleepers.
- Gums may become swollen or red in the area a tooth is erupting.
If you have a toddler, you're already a pro at those first baby teeth eruptions. Teething can start as early as 6 months and span until your child reaches age 3. But you can have a better sense of teething by charting your child's eruption timeline, says the American Dental Association.
You can create a color-coded teething chart and use it as an activity exercise to educate and distract your child during the process. If you have a fussy toddler, it might be time to look at the calendar!
Nemours warns against home remedies like alcohol or aspirin rubs, but there are a variety of things you can do to distract your little one from teething pain. Cold sliced bananas, cool wash cloths and chilled, soft teethers are all good remedies for daylight hour pain. Focused play or a walk outside can also be a welcome change. At night, consider massaging gums with a warm, soft cloth. If your pediatrician allows it, you can raise the crib mattress slightly on one side to relieve the increased pressure and pain of lying down, says Sleep Play Love.
Teething phases might be painful, but it's important to keep gently brushing. Choose a toothbrush with extra soft bristles for gentle, yet effective cleaning, like Colgate My First Toothbrush, to teach your little one good oral care habits to match those brand new teeth. Before you know it, the baby teeth will be falling out and growing in all over again!
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.