Dentist-Approved Ways to Help Your Child’s Teething Discomfort

Dentist-Approved Ways to Help Your Child’s Teething Discomfort

Did you know that babies are born with all of their primary teeth just waiting to erupt through the gumline? Many children already have a few teeth by the time they turn one.

However, every baby is different and some children will see teeth earlier and some later. The average age for children to begin teething is around the age of six months.

Teething can be uncomfortable for children as the teeth push through the gumline, which can cause some initial irritation. The majority of children won’t have this same discomfort when getting their adult teeth a few years down the line.

How Do I Know if My Baby Is Teething?

Most children will have some symptoms of the teething process, which can last for a few days before you see the tooth coming through their gums. Once the tooth has broken through the surface, the pain and discomfort should begin to subside, and your baby should start feeling normal again!

During the teething process, your child may be irritable or have trouble sleeping. They may also have a decreased appetite or be trying to bite or chew things more often (as we’ll soon see, pressure can help alleviate discomfort on the gums!).

Other common signs of teething include drooling, rubbing cheeks or ears, and for some babies, even cold symptoms such as coughing or a low-grade fever. You should always follow up with your child’s pediatrician if your child has a fever or diarrhea, as these are not common symptoms of teething. 

5 Ways to Help Relieve Teething Discomfort 

Caring for an uncomfortable baby can be challenging, and it’s never easy to see your child in pain. Fortunately, there are a few things you can try to help your baby feel better while their primary teeth are coming in!

  1. Gum Massage

Pressure can help alleviate the pain associated with teething, which makes a simple gum massage the perfect tip to try. Here’s how to do it.

Ensure your hands are clean and gently use one or two of your fingers to gently but firmly massage your baby’s gum tissue. This is a great practice for when you’re out with baby and he or she is inconsolable, as it doesn’t require any additional tools besides clean hands!

  1. Firm Teething Toys 

Similarly to the concept of a gum massage, firm teething toys can help baby apply pressure to the gums and feel better. Consider a teething ring, which is too large for baby to swallow and provides a safe way to relieve pain.

However, don’t freeze these teething rings, especially if they’re made from a material such as rubber or silicone. Freezing these toys and then giving them to your baby to chew can make them too hard and they could cause harm to the gum tissue.

You should also always supervise your child when he or she is playing or chewing with a teething ring to ensure safety!

  1. Cold Foods

If your baby is beginning to eat solid foods or is a comfortable solid food eater by the time they begin teething, consider giving them cold foods to chew on the help reduce the inflammation and redness that can often come with getting their primary teeth in.

Consider chilling cucumbers or celery sticks and give them to your baby to chew. Always supervise your child to ensure a larger piece doesn’t break off and present a choking risk.

For softer foods, applesauce or yogurt can be a great way to help soothe aching gums. Some parents even purchase mesh teething feeders, which are specifically designed for teething. With these products, a cold or frozen food item such as a strawberry or banana is placed in the mesh and given to baby to chew on.

These teething nets prevent large pieces of food from breaking off and posing a choking risk to your child. Always supervise your baby with any object, especially one they’re chewing on! 

  1. A Cold Washcloth

Going along with the cooling theme to help combat inflammation and pain, a clean, cool washcloth can be a great way to help calm baby. You can chill the washcloth in the fridge or freezer, but don’t let it freeze completely solid, as it could be too hard for your child’s gums.

Give your child the washcloth and allow them to chew on it, under supervision, of course. Babies who are teething like to bite and suck and will likely enjoy gnawing on the washcloth, and it can help them feel better, too! 

  1. Medication and a Word on Teething Gel

While generally not considered first picks for a baby’s teething pain, medication may be considered. If your baby is inconsolable even after trying the above tricks, contact your child’s doctor about any over-the-counter medication they may be able to take.

Since babies who are teething tend to drool excessively, many teething gels won’t sit long enough on the gums to work. In addition, you should never give your baby gels or creams that contain benzocaine, as it’s not recommended for babies. Always follow up with your child-friendly dentist in Asheville or your child’s pediatrician for further advice!

Beware of These Practices

There are many teething products and toys out there, and using your discretion is important to get a safe and effective option for your baby during their teething process. For instance, there are some practices that aren’t recommended.

Fluid-filled teething rings are no longer recommended, as some children can puncture them and swallow the fluid inside, posing a health risk. Going with a solid teething ring such as rubber, silicone, or wood is considered to be a safer option.

In addition, amber necklaces have been gaining popularity, and are sometimes advertised as a way to help relieve baby’s teething pain. However, these products haven’t been proven to work, and they can pose a safety risk to babies for choking or breaking the necklace.

When in doubt, contact your professional Asheville dentist services or doctor, and keep your baby as comfortable and stress-free as possible during this uncomfortable time.  It’ll be over before you know it! 

We Provide Kid-Friendly Dental Care!

Saunders DDS provides dental care for people of all ages in your family. When you have questions about your little one’s oral care, or need a checkup for those first teeth coming in, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (828) 277-6060 or request an appointment with us!