Each time my babies hit a new milestone it makes me want to cry. She rolled over? Tears. She giggled? Tears. She’s going Preschool? Sobs. One milestone that made me cry was when my baby got her first teeth. Yes, she was so grown up, but it was also a long-sleepless-fussy road leading up to them.
It’s hard when your baby is fussy and you can tell something is uncomfortable but they can’t tell you, “Yo, mom my mouth really hurts like something is stabbing through my gums. I think I’m getting teeth!” No, usually you just worry and worry and then teeth pop out and you go, “Oh! They were teething!”
So what are some signs of teething? How can you help them through the process and provide them pain relief? What are somethings to avoid? Basically, what are all the deets of teething?
When Do Babies Usually Get Teeth?
This is a hard question to answer directly because it can be such a wide range of ages. They can start to teeth between 3-12 months (like I said, super helpful). On average though, babies start to teethe around 6 months of age. This chart was helpful for me to gauge when and where my baby would be getting teeth.
Signs of Teething
It can be hard to tell if your baby is just being fussy or if they are feeling pain from teething. Here are some clues to look for:
- Drooling more than usual
- A slight temperature increase (nothing over 100.4)
- A rash on their face
- Chewing more than usual
- Not sleeping as well
- More irritable than usual
- Gums may be red and swollen
How to Help Soothe a Teething Baby
The best way to soothe teething gums is to give baby something to chew on. Cold temperatures also provide relief, so if you can combine both, your baby will get the most relief. Here are some of the best teething tools:
- Teething rings
- Teething Mitts
- Cold cucumbers or fruit in a baby-safe feeder
- Cold, wet washcloth to chew on
- Cold spoon
- Massage their gums with your finger or wet gauze
- Silicone teething toys
- Teething biscuits
- Small dose of infant pain medication like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
Remember to avoid dipping any teething toys in sugary substances, as even baby teeth can develop cavities.
What About Amber Teething Necklaces?
You may have seen those cool amber teething necklaces that parents put on their babies that are meant to calm teething symptoms naturally. Apparently the succinic acid found in the amber has inflammatory properties.
The Food and Drug Administration warns of strangulation, choking, and injury to the mouth from rough amber crystals and infection from reports they have received. That is why you will want to make sure that the necklaces or bracelets have knots between each bead, like these ones, so baby will not choke even if the string is broken and that the amber is smooth if they put the jewelry in their mouth.
The FDA also suggests not using Orajel on your teething baby chemical benzocaine found in its formula. Orajel has just come out with a new baby formula without benzocaine--so just make sure you check the label before giving it to your baby.
Further studies are being conducted, but benzocaine has been found to cause a condition called methemoglobinemia. Methemoglobinemia is a potentially deadly condition that causes blood to carry less oxygen. Benzocaine is not only found in Orajel, so look out for the ingredients on other teething remedies as well.
Homeopathic Teething Tablets?
The most common of these tablets are the Hyland Teething Tablets found in most grocery stores. In 2010 and 2017 the FDA released warnings and a recall on these tablets and others for containing unregulated amounts of belladonna.
Symptoms of taking too much belladonna are seizures, lethargy, and sleepiness. The recall has since been canceled and Hyland’s ensures the safety of their products, but the investigation of their products is still underway by the FDA.
Yes, teething can raise your baby’s temperature, but not outrageously. Any fever 100.4 or higher means your baby is most likely sick and not just teething. Try giving your baby the recommended dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Do I Need to Call the Doctor?
Even though your baby may seem miserable, teething is a normal process that can be managed at home with some extra care and help from teething toys or pain medication. If your baby seems excessively fussy, or if their teething seems to be interfering with their ability to eat, then you can contact your pediatrician to make sure nothing more serious is going on.
Keep Those Baby Teeth Clean
Remember that even baby teeth need to be cleaned and cared for. Cavities and tooth decay in baby teeth can lead to long-term issues and dental problems. Plus, it's good to get your baby into the habit of caring for their oral health.
After feedings, wipe your baby's teeth down with a wet washcloth or brush them gently with a teething toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride-free tooth gel (about the size of a grain of rice). Once your child is able to spit (around age 2 or 3), you can use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and a nylon-bristled toothbrush.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children have their first visit to the dentist around the time they turn one. Getting your little one in the habit of good oral health is so important, so keep up those regular dental visits to ensure a healthy, happy mouth!
The best thing to know and remember is that teething symptoms don’t last forever! On average, they last around 8 days for a tooth to come in. Yes, your baby will get lots of teeth, and sometimes the symptoms will be worse than others, but keep your baby safe, avoid remedies that cause potential harm, and know one day you’ll be crying because they’ll be losing their baby teeth.
For more tips on baby milestones go to babycubby.com.