Teething is tortuous – for both tots and parents. While it’s true that teething tends to be the scapegoat for plenty unrelated maladies, cutting those first gnashers is a proper pain, and is responsible for a good share of troublemaking.
Check out the symptom list below to see if your bubs really is prepping for a set of chompers, and find out how to ease the process.
Babies can get their first tooth anywhere between three and 15 months, but commonly between four to nine months – although you might start suspecting their impending emergence earlier. Contrary to popular belief drooling is not always a sure sign; dribbling at three to four months is usually a result of your baby learning to put things in his mouth – part of normal development, but not necessarily due to teething.
Signs that might indicate teething
- Rosy, flushed cheeks
- (Increased) dribbling
- Tugging at ears – this is known as ‘referred pain’; teething causes gum pain which radiates up the jaws and to the ears; if it persists, however, consult your GP to rule out ear infection
- Chewing on everything – a standard developmental phase, but can also be a sign of trying to relieve gum pressure
- Tender swollen gums
- Disturbed sleep
- Poor appetite
- Sore, red bottom or rash – the jury’s out on whether nappy rash is in fact linked to teething; anecdotally, mums swear it is. The connection could be down to an increase in saliva production which changes the nature of poo.
What to do
Rub your baby’s sore gums gently with a clean finger. Try out a teething ring – either a soft rubber one, or the plastic type that’s cooled in the refrigerator. If you think your baby is in pain, consider giving pain relief – but ensure you read dosage instructions carefully. Also, avoid giving your little one hard, sharp-edged toys that could damage teeth and gums. If you’re still unsure, it’s always worth asking a pharmacist for advice.
What not to do
Don’t dip dummies or teething rings in honey or sweet foods, as it may lead to dental decay. (Honey is a potential toxin for children under one year of age, too.)