When your baby is around 6 months old, you'll probably start to see his first two teeth pushing through his gums. This process, known as teething, is an exciting milestone for parents, but it can also be frustrating if your little one is experiencing teething pain.
A baby's discomfort from teething is caused by the fact that his new teeth are erupting through his tender gum tissue. While you may be somewhat familiar with teething issues, you might still have a tough time determining whether your child is suffering from pain related to teething or from discomfort caused by a different problem. Keep reading to learn how to recognize which of your child's symptoms point to teething pain and which symptoms may be signs of other issues that could require medical attention.
Recognizing the Common Signs of Teething Pain
General irritability and crankiness are two of the telltale signs of pain from the teething process. If you're lucky, your baby's crankiness may only last for a brief period, although some babies remain irritable for several weeks as their teeth grow in.
Because of the discomfort that comes along with teething, your little one might also refuse certain foods or have trouble sleeping. Of course, some babies are picky eaters and fussy sleepers before they ever begin teething; that's why it's important to take note of your child's normal habits, so it will be easier to determine whether any behavior changes are related to his teething process.
If you're still unsure if your baby's symptoms are caused by pain in his gums, you can examine his gums to check for visible swelling and redness. You can also gently place a finger on or near the area where his teeth are growing in to see if he has a negative reaction to your touch.
Knowing Which Symptoms Are Unrelated to Teething
Many parents mistakenly believe that a baby's fever and diarrhea are connected with teething. However, experts haven't found any links between these symptoms and teething pain. If your child exhibits fevers or diarrhea, it's a good idea to call your physician to see what else might be causing these issues.
Every baby is unique, and while some little ones will have very strong reactions to teething, other babies will show no signs of distress at all. Keeping tabs on your baby's regular behavior and learning what signs do and don't point to teething pain will help you ensure that your little one remains healthy during this important process.
Learn more about the teething process in the Colgate Oral Care resource center.