Teething Signs and Remedies
Teething, like any other illness or stage of life it seems, doesn’t happen the same way for every baby. Symptoms of teething can begin as early as 3 months and as late as 12 months. On average, the first tooth usually erupts (breaks through the gum) at 7 months. It is reasonable to anticipate that teething symptoms appear approximately two to three months before you actually see the tooth. Unfortunately, no two babies teethe alike. Both types of symptoms and severity of symptoms can vary from baby to baby. Some babies will have no symptoms or handle their symptoms well. Other babies can seem overwhelmed with symptoms.
Common Teething Signs
Most babies, however, do exhibit some teething symptoms, which may include any one or a few of the following:
- Gnawing and chewing on items
- Swollen, red gums
- “Rosy” cheeks (when cheeks appear flushed)
- Apparent loss of appetite or affinity for feeding
- Inability to or difficulty sleeping
- Mild fever
- Diaper rash
There is some disagreement in the medical community about the last three, but many mothers can attest to these being common. Though, if the diarrhea and mild fever in particular last more than a couple of days, it is likely not just related to the teething, but could be an indication of something else and it would be good to consult a doctor.
In What Order do Teeth Appear?
Below is a chart that shows the order that teeth generally erupt. Usually, the first two teeth to appear are the lower central incisors (front teeth). Later on, when the teeth start to fall out to make room for the adult teeth, they will fall out in the order in which they came. The teeth will also come in in pairs – one on the right, and the other on the left.
Girls, on average, start getting teeth earlier than boys, but by 2 to 3 years of age, all the teeth should be present.
Easy Teething Remedies
At the heart of every parent’s dilemma is what can you to do to ease your baby’s symptoms, particularly if those symptoms are making it difficult for everyone to get a good night’s sleep.
Doctors warn against giving acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra) to infants under the age of 3 months or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to infants under the age of 6 months, but sometimes these things work best at night. Just consult your doctor before using them in these instances, and make sure you follow the dosage instructions carefully according to your baby’s weight. There have also been warnings about the use of teething gels that contain benzocaine and Hyland’s teething tablets.
There are the usual chewy toys and fingers and cold/frozen moist washcloth. Other alternatives include:
- A large piece of frozen fruit – make sure “that the fruit cannot be fully placed into your child’s mouth…” (Natural Organic Baby)
- Clove oil – the clove plant is “known for its antiseptic, analgesic, antibacterial, and local anesthetic properties”. It can be purchased at natural food stores and should be diluted (4 drops of oil to 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil), or the new Baby Orajel Naturals products.
- As a variation of the frozen washcloths, instead of soaking the cloth in water, soak it in chamomile tea. There are other products that use chamomile as their “soothing” agent.
Some teething remedies to avoid include:
- Frozen or toasted bagels
- Zwieback crackers
- Frozen bananas
The first four in particular can pose a choking hazard in young infants. There are a few products out there, though, that offer a “mesh feeder” where your little one can chew on frozen fruit without the choking hazard.
Darlene Oakley is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.
The Five Signs of Teething. WhattoExpect.com. Web. Feb 13, 2012. http://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/week-24/teething.aspx
Teething – What to Expect. WebMD. Web. Feb 13, 2012. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/tc/teething-what-to-expect
Making teething easier for your child. National Health Service. Web. Feb 13, 2012. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Teething/Pages/Treatment.aspx
Natural Teething Remedies for Babies. Natural Organic Baby. Web. Feb 13, 2012. http://www.natural-organic-baby.com/natural-teething.html
Safe Baby Teething Remedies. Parenting. Web. Feb 13, 2012. http://www.parenting.com/gallery/baby-teething-remedies?pnid=376545