Teething is one of the most widely discussed topics if you have a baby, as at some stage in your babies first 2 years it is going to cause some sort of issue. In total, by the age of 3 years old the majority of children will have all of their 20 milk teeth. Some babies cut teeth with relatively no signs or symptoms at all and the first a parent knows about it is to see the little white dot in their babies mouth.
Other babies seem to suffer with every single one. The molars are particularly painful for all babies in my experience, as they are so big-they take weeks of rumbling before they begin to cut. The canines are also not a very nice experience for everyone either.
One of the most asked questions is:
When does teething start?
A: In my experience teething symptoms can start anytime from around 8 weeks of age, although some babies have been known to be born with 1 or 2 teeth that have already come through.
Pain and crying are just one symptom of teething. There are various other signs that your baby is suffering from sore gums:
*More loose poos than normal
*A red, sore bottom
*Pulling at the ears (a sign of pain on one side of the mouth)
*Decreased appetite-refusing to drink her milk or eat solids (mouth may be too sore)
*Wanting to chew everything
*One or both cheeks being very red and hot to touch
*Generally whingy or unhappy (if teeth are just having a rumble and causing a small amount of pain)
*Unexplained bouts of screaming hysterically which nothing you do seems to help relieve it (Due to very bad teething pain)
*Not sleeping well. Whinging or moaning in her sleep or waking up screaming
If your baby is showing at least three of the above signs then you can say with a fair amount of certainty that it is likely to be teething pain that is the problem. Many parents will notice a few more unusual signs every time their baby is about to cut a tooth, i.e, they always develop a cold. However I have tried to stick to the more common signs that are normal for the majority of babies.
NOTE: If your baby seems in pain but doesn't show any of the above symptoms as well, then I would recommend that you talk to your GP for more advice.
Most adults will have experienced toothache or pain at some point in their lives, even if only when their wisdom teeth are having a 'rumble' for a few days and trying to push through the gums. It can even put us off eating because your whole mouth feels so sore- but at least we understand and can self medicate accordingly!
A baby has no idea and the only way to let their parent know is to cry. For the majority of babies, teeth can take a long time to appear. They rumble in the gums, gradually pushing their way up before "erupting" (aptly named by dentists) and 'cutting' through the gums so that you can finally see and feel the sharp tip
Q: How can you help soothe the pain of teething?
Giving your baby things to chew on will help. You can keep teething rings in the fridge or even freezer and just get them out when needed and offer to your baby. Even giving her a cold, damp flannel to chew on will give relief as the cold numbs the pain and the fabric gives a soothing massage as she chews it.
If your baby is already on solids then offering cold foods like yoghurt or cool fruit purée will soothe sore gums
Sometimes rubbing her gums with a clean finger can also help
There are various gels,liquids,powders and teething products on the market, as well as necklaces all containing particular ingredients, all claiming to be the best to help with teething pain.
In my experience, after trying a number of different products with my own three children,babies I've worked with and chatting to other mums, I have found the most helpful and soothing product to be a teething liquid called ANBESOL
It is also sold in gel form too, but I've found that like other gels, it slips off the gums and around the mouth as you are attempting to apply it. This means that you don't really get enough of it around the gums to relieve the pain
The liquid is much more effective because you can apply it directly along your baby's top and bottom gums using a clean fingertip. It contains an antiseptic ingredient as well as an anaesthetic so it brings instant relief.
If you use this and your baby still seems upset and in pain, then you can give infant paracetamol or ibruprofen once they are over 12 weeks old.
In my experience Ibruprofen based medicines are much more effective on teething or any other type of pain, than paracetamol based products
A baby who is teething will not self soothe or calm herself down until the pain has stopped. During the day, sometimes teething is easier for your baby to cope with as there are lots of distractions in her environment.
At night, lying in a quiet dark room, all alone, she has nothing else to think about apart from the rumbling in her gums, so she will wake up crying repeatedly. She may settle initially with a cuddle if it is just mild teething pain, but will likely be unsettled and wake on and off all night. With more severe pain she will be almost hysterical and crying even when comforted.
This is the time to try the teething remedies you prefer. I find Anbesol liquid and ibruprofen based medicine are best at dealing with teething pain.
They will both take a good 20-30 minutes to take effect, during which time you should sit and cuddle her to keep her calm. Once you know she is no longer in any pain, then you can encourage her to go back to sleep for a bit longer until the morning-but be prepared to be in for quite a few unsettled nights when new teeth are cutting-particularly the Molars and Canines, which cause very bad pain and can affect eating habits too.
All children are very different as to the age at which they get teeth-some begin getting them by 6 months, others are still toothless at 12 months-despite showing lots of teething symptoms. My middle son was actively teething every now and again from the age of 10 weeks but his first tooth didn't appear until he was 14 months!! I thought he would be gummy forever!
Q:Should you start cleaning the tooth once it's come through? How and with what?
A: You can start getting your baby used to teeth brushing as soon as their first tooth comes through. Buy a toothbrush and toothpaste recommended for your babies age and to begin with just let her chew on the brush and get used to having it in her mouth. If she's teething then she will enjoy the feel of it in her mouth. Getting her used to having her teeth brushed from a very young age will prevent any reluctance against doing it as she gets older.
Q: Why do some babies get diarrhoea and sore bottoms when teething?
Many experts say there is no connection, but mums often say that they notice a connection.
A: As a mother of three children who have gone through the teething stages
and having spoken to many of the hundreds of parents I work with, I would say there is most definitely a connection between a baby having more loose stools when teething.
The reasoning behind the loose stools is due to the extra saliva that your baby produces and then swallows more of. This saliva aggravates the tummy and makes a baby produce more acidic poos.
The acidic poos in turn can cause a very red, sore rash on a baby's bottom
Ihope you have found this post helpful and I'm honoured that Lucinda asked me to guest post on her blog. If you would like other helpful baby related tips feel free to come and have a look at my blog www.theblissfulbabyexpert.com and follow me on twitter @blissfulbabyexp for FREE parenting advice anytime
Thank you very much for this informative post! Lots of questions answered for those of us worrying about teething!
Be sure to visit www.theblissfulbabyexpert.com for more great tips!