When does teething usually start and what are the symptoms?
Most babies start teething between 4-7 months, but some start a little earlier and others a little later and that’s okay. Symptoms will appear before the tooth breaks through, in most cases. They include:
- Excessive drooling
- A desire to chew on something hard because pressure helps to alleviate the pain
- Swollen tender gums
- Mild irritability, crying, or a low grade fever
What can I do to support my baby through teething?
- A few easy things to do include wash your hands, trim your nails, and gently massage swollen their gums. Teething rings made of firm rubber with a slight chill to them can help, but don’t freeze them. That can do more harm than good.
- If nothing seems to be working call your pediatrician about using over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol and Motrin. They’ll tell you if they’re safe for your baby based on your baby’s age and health history, and tell you how much and how often you can give your baby while they’re teething.
- Avoid gels that you rub on your baby’s gums. They aren’t helpful because teething babies drool quite a bit and the drool can wash away the medication. In addition, it can numb the back of a baby’s throat and interfere with their ability to swallow.
- Avoid teething tablets. The FDA has issued a warning against Hyland’s teething tablets because they contain belladonna and the amount contained in them is unregulated. They found in lab testing that they contained 16x more belladonna than they should have. Too much can cause harm to a baby.
When should I start to brush my baby’s teeth?
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in childhood and it’s preventable. As soon as you see teeth, start brushing with a soft child’s toothbrush. Use a smear of fluoride toothpaste, like the size of a grain of rice.
When should my baby see the dentist for the first time?
A child should see the dentist around their first birthday. This is a chance for parents to ask questions and for the dentist to educate parents about proper oral hygiene. Topics of conversation should include brushing, bottles, juice, and fluoride. They’ll do a basic checkup and introduce the child to the dentist. They try to make it a positive experience so that the child will want to come back.