Teething is tough on a child. When their first teeth start to erupt, infants can experience a variety of symptoms that cause discomfort and may even cause worries for parents if they do not know what to expect. Let’s explore some of these below in order to become comfortable with what teething is, how it impacts your child, and how to best manage it.
What is teething?
Teething is the process through which teeth start to appear in your child’s mouth. A common misconception is that the teeth are piercing through the gums. However, what is actually happening is that cells in the gums are dying off and the teeth are then coming through.
Teething can occur between 3 months of age and up to your child’s 3rd birthday. During this time period, all 20 teeth will eventually appear in your child’s mouth. Typically, children usually see their first teeth erupt around 6 months of age.
The most common teeth to appear first are the two in the bottom center of your child’s mouth. If your child is exhibiting any of the symptoms of teething listed below, check this area for any evidence of a tooth erupting.
Symptoms of teething
While each child is different, and their tolerance for pain will vary, some general expectations of symptoms when teething occurs include increased drooling, irritability, soreness or swelling in the gums, reduced desire to eat, and overall fussiness. If you notice any of these in your child, or if they are unusually fussy, it is possible that a new tooth may be emerging soon.
It should be mentioned here that some children do not show any visual signs of teething at all in terms of their behaviour.
Teething may cause your child’s temperature to rise a bit. However, parents should know that teething does not usually cause your child to run a fever. If your child is teething and also running a fever, this may be a sign of something else, including infection, and an appointment with a doctor is recommended. If you notice any excessive bleeding or signs of infection, let your pediatric dentist know.
Helping with the pain
There are a couple of things you can do as a parent to soothe the pain of teething for your child. Frozen strawberries or frozen washcloths can provide relief for your child’s mouth if they chew on them. Anything cold is usually soothing as well, including cold drinks.
Additionally, there are teething rings available that let your child chew on the ring for relief and to further the process of breaking the gum tissue.
Once you start to see the tooth in your child’s mouth, it is advisable to start brushing it. This is the start of your child’s oral care routine and you do not have to wait until the tooth fully erupts. This is because once a tooth is visible, it starts to become susceptible to tooth decay if not cleaned properly.