Your baby is cutting her/his first teeth.
And it’s an exciting milestone! Your baby will likely cut their first tooth around six months of age, and before they’re three years old, they’ll have an entire mouthful of 20 primary teeth. These teeth are going to eventually allow them to chew food and speak.
But teething can cause some discomfort for your baby. After all, the gums are being broken open to allow the tooth to come through. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to ensure your baby is comfortable.
So what symptoms should you expect with teething, how are they treated, and what symptoms should not be discounted as side effects of the teething process?
What symptoms usually accompany teething?
Teething is proven to be connected with some common symptoms. Babies explore their world by putting things in their mouths, and while they’re teething your little one might be sticking things in their mouth even more frequently. Babies who are teething gravitate towards chewing and gnawing on things to help massage and soothe their gums.
Some gum irritation and redness is also normal while teething. The discomfort can cause your baby to be a little extra fussy, but they shouldn’t be inconsolable. Teething shouldn’t cause your baby to be in extreme distress. If your baby is crying constantly and cannot sleep, there might be something else going on and you should contact your child’s pediatrician.
A fever is not a known sign of teething.
Perhaps you shouldn’t be blaming your baby’s fever on teething, as medical evidence to back up teething fever is inconclusive. Other symptoms that are probably not caused by teething include frequent vomiting, refusing to feed, and diarrhea.
Why have people associated fevers with teething, then? One explanation is that babies are more susceptible to contracting bacterial and viral infections between 6 and 12 months, and can happen to contract these infections at the time they’re teething. Bacteria and viruses cannot survive in temperatures much higher than body temperature, so the body elevates its set point temperature to kill them off. But teething isn’t known to actually cause fevers or make your baby more likely to contract an illness.
If your baby has a fever, don’t bundle them up as this could cause overheating. Make sure your baby stays hydrated by giving them plenty of liquids or electrolyte solutions. You can also try a lukewarm bath.
What about medicine, though? Medication for fevers is only necessary if the fever causes discomfort. Do not give fever medicine to babies under 3 months. If your baby under 3 months has a fever at all, or your baby is older than 3 months and has a fever of over 102 degrees, you should consult your pediatrician right away.
Parents like to make sure their kiddos are as comfortable as possible. Here are some tips to help soothe the discomfort that goes along with teething.
1. Provide things for your baby to chew on.
Teething toys and teething rings are a good option, especially ones that can be chilled. Don’t give crunchy fruits and vegetables (such as carrots) that can be a choking hazard, though.
2. Apply a cold compress.
Give your baby a cold washcloth to chew on. This will reduce the inflammation and soreness in their gums and provide some relief.
3. Massage your baby’s gums.
Along with teething toys, gently massage your baby’s gums to help stimulate blood flow and ease the discomfort.
4. Use any painkillers sparingly.
Painkillers should only be used for teething as a last resort, and always with the guidance of your baby’s pediatrician. If your baby is experiencing a lot of discomfort and pain, reach out to your pediatrician. If you have any concerns about your baby related to teething, reach out to us.
Baby’s First Trip to the Dentist
You should bring your baby to visit their pediatric dentist on their first birthday or six months after their first tooth erupts, whichever comes first. Keeping your baby’s new teeth healthy will help ensure a lifetime of good oral health.
At We Make Kids Smile, we have an amazing team and we’re dedicated to providing comprehensive and skilled dental care. If you’re looking for a pediatric dentist, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for an appointment.