Understanding the Signs of Teething in Babies
The arrival of a new baby is a joyous occasion for any family. However, the journey of parenthood comes with its own set of challenges, one of which is teething. Teething is a natural process through which a baby’s teeth erupt through the gums.
While it is a milestone in a child’s development, it can be a trying time for both the baby and the parents. Understanding the signs of teething is crucial in providing comfort and care to make this phase as smooth as possible. A dentist explains what teething is, the signs of it, and how to alleviate the pain.
What is Teething?
Teething is when an infant’s first set of teeth, often referred to as “baby teeth” or deciduous teeth, begin to erupt through the gums. This typically begins around six months of age, although it can occur earlier or later for some babies. The eruption of teeth can continue until around three years old, when most children have a complete set of primary teeth.
The teething process can be uncomfortable and even painful for babies as they experience physical changes in their mouths. Parents and caregivers must recognize the signs of teething to provide appropriate care and support during this period.
Signs of Teething in Babies
One of the most common signs of teething is excessive drooling. Teething stimulates saliva production, and the baby may notice a noticeable drooling increase. This can irritate and chapping around the baby’s mouth and chin.
Gnawing and Chewing
Babies often experience discomfort and pressure in their gums during teething. To alleviate this discomfort, they tend to chew on anything they can find—fingers, toys, or furniture. Providing safe teething toys can help soothe their sore gums. Read about Recognizing Social Anxiety in Children: Is Your Child Quiet or Anxious?
Irritability and Fussiness
Teething can be uncomfortable and painful for a baby, leading to increased fussiness and irritability. They may cry more than usual and may be harder to console. This can be due to the pain and discomfort in their gums.
Red or Swollen Gums
The gum tissue may become red, swollen, and sensitive as the teeth push through the gums. You may notice that the area around the emerging tooth looks slightly raised or inflamed.
Changes in Eating and Drinking Patterns
The discomfort caused by teething can affect a baby’s appetite. They might refuse to eat or drink as much as usual. Cold foods or beverages provide relief to sore gums.
The discomfort and pain associated with teething can disrupt a baby’s sleep patterns. They may wake up more frequently at night and have difficulty falling asleep.
Ear Pulling and Cheek Rubbing
Teething pain can radiate to the ears and cheeks, causing babies to tug at their ears or rub their cheeks. This is a way they try to alleviate the discomfort in their gums.
Some babies may experience a slight increase in body temperature during teething. However, it’s important to note that teething does not cause high fevers. If your baby has a high fever, it may be due to an unrelated illness.
How to Alleviate Discomfort
Understanding the signs of teething is essential, but providing comfort to your baby is equally important. Here are some strategies to help alleviate the discomfort associated with teething:
Teething Toys and Chilled Teethers
Offer your baby safe teething toys or teethers specifically designed to be chilled. The coldness can help numb sore gums and provide relief.
Gentle Gum Massage
Massaging your baby’s gums with a clean finger can help ease the discomfort. Use a soft, clean cloth or finger to pressure the sore areas gently.
If your baby has started on solid foods, offer cold and soothing options like yogurt, pureed fruits, or chilled vegetables. The coolness can temporarily alleviate gum soreness.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relief
Consult your pediatrician before using any over-the-counter pain relievers or teething gels. They may recommend a suitable product and guide appropriate dosages.
Cuddling and Comfort
Sometimes, all a teething baby needs is extra cuddling and comfort from their parents. Holding and soothing your baby can provide security during this uncomfortable time.
Conclusion – Understanding the Signs of Teething in Babies
Teething is a natural and necessary process that all babies go through. While it can be challenging for both the baby and the parents, understanding the signs of teething and how to provide comfort can make this phase more manageable.
Being attentive to your baby’s needs, offering soothing remedies, and seeking advice from healthcare professionals can help ensure a smoother teething experience for your little one. Remember, with love, patience, and proper care, you’ll navigate this phase successfully as a parent, supporting your baby through the early stages of dental development.