You've just gotten your baby to bed. Relieved, you sit down to read a book or head to the laundry room to get clothes out of the washing machine. After what feels like no time at all, your baby wakes up "again" fussy and miserable. What could be the cause? Teething.
Caring for a teething baby can be a challenge. Babies tend to be fussy as their teeth come in. Teeth usually come in when a child is between 4-7 months old. Gum irritation, irritability and drooling are the most common symptoms.
Gently massage the gums of your teething child with a clean finger. Let them chew on a wet washcloth that has been put in the freezer for 30 minutes is also helpful. Don't let the washcloth freeze solid, as that will make it hard to chew on. Likewise, don't put plastic teething toys in the freezer or boil them for sterilization, as freezing could cause them to crack and leak fluid, and heating could cause them to release toxic plastic chemicals.
Many over the counter products exist to soothe a teething child. Oral pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are the best choice for relieving teething pain if gum massage and teething objects don't help. Acetaminophen can be used at any age, and ibuprofen should be used only for children 6 months of age and older. Avoid numbing gels containing benzocaine, and avoid homeopathic tablets, as they contain ingredients that can be unsafe and have been linked to serious side effects and death in teething children.
When to be concerned
Although a slight rise in temperature during teething often occurs, it is important to note that according to a 2016 study in , teething does not cause fever. If your child reaches a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, go see your doctor right away. A fever is a warning sign of a more serious illness.
Don't forget to brush
Now that your child has their first tooth, you should start to brush! Here are some ways to make good oral hygiene a part of his or her daily routine.