Teething

Tips for soothing sore gums

Is your teething baby keeping you up at night? Understand how to soothe sore gums and care for your baby’s new teeth. Drooling, crankiness and tears can make teething an ordeal for babies and parents alike. Here’s information to help ease the pain — for both of you. Now go out and try to get some sleep! 

What’s typical? Again nothing is really typical but this should act as a guideline for information. Please do not compare your children or friends’ kids as everyone teethes differently and develops differently. 

Although timing varies widely, babies often begin teething by about age 6 months. Many times we think it is teething when in fact it is not. I have three girls who did not get teeth until 10 months to 14 months. Each was different and each had different issues. The two bottom front teeth are usually the first to appear, followed by the two top front teeth.

Classic signs and symptoms of teething include:

Excessive drooling

Chewing on objects

Irritability or crankiness

Sore or tender gums

Slight increase in temperature — but no fever

I have also noted diarrhea but many doctors don’t believe that is a sign. For me it is anecdotal but still, it happens. 

Many parents suspect that teething causes fever and diarrhea, but researchers say these symptoms aren’t indications of teething. I will beg to differ on this contrary to popular beliefs.  If your baby has a rectal temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or diarrhea, talk to the doctor.  If you are not sure then please call your physician and perhaps have a visit to ensure that you are correct.  

What’s the best way to soothe sore gums?

If your teething baby seems uncomfortable, consider these simple tips:

Rub your baby’s gums. Use a clean finger or wet gauze to rub your baby’s gums. The pressure can ease your baby’s discomfort.

Keep it cool. A cold spoon or chilled — not frozen — teething ring can be soothing on a baby’s gums. To avoid cavities, don’t dip these items in sugary substances. Many parents do this and this can only contribute to issues later on. Self-soothing is great and can work. 

Try an over-the-counter remedy. If your baby is especially cranky, consider giving him or her infants’ or children’s over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others).

What treatments should I avoid?

To keep your baby safe, avoid using:

Over-the-counter remedies, including homeopathic teething tablets. The benefits of topical gels and teething tablets haven’t been demonstrated. In recent years, lab analysis of some homeopathic remedies found greater amounts than labeled of the ingredient belladonna, which can cause seizures and difficulty breathing.

Teething medications containing benzocaine or lidocaine. These pain relievers can be harmful — even fatal — to your baby.

Teething necklaces, bracelets, or anklets. These items pose a risk of choking, strangulation, mouth injury, and infection. I can not emphasize this enough. I am not a fan of these necklaces and yes I am neurotic so I do not want any choking or strangulation happening.  My children can discuss all their issues in therapy as they get older if need be. LOL.

Do I need to call the doctor?

Teething can usually be handled at home. Contact the doctor if your baby seems particularly uncomfortable or if teething seems to be interfering with his or her eating or drinking. Don’t panic but don’t disregard symptoms.  Especially if this is your first child.  I believe better safe than sorry and would not want to miss something. 

How do I care for my baby’s new teeth?

Run a soft, clean cloth over your baby’s gums twice a day — after the morning feeding and before bed. The cleansing can keep food debris and bacteria from building up in your baby’s mouth.

When your baby’s first teeth appear, use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush to clean his or her teeth twice a day. Until your child learns to spit — at about age 3 — use a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than the size of a grain of rice. Then switch to a pea-sized dollop as your child approaches 2 to 3 years of age.

It’s also time to think about regular dental checkups. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend scheduling a child’s first dental visit at or near his or her first birthday.

Remember, regular childhood dental care helps set the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

This below maybe a great form for you to use and to reprint or post 

When teething starts

Generally speaking, most babies begin teething somewhere between 4 and 7 months of age. But some children may begin teething earlier or later than this window.  Please do not compare your children. Everyone does things at their own pace. Eventually, they all catch up. Let’s not be competitive either. 

How to tell if it’s teething pain-causing nighttime trouble

Typically, you’ll know if your baby’s nighttime restlessness is due to teething because they’ll be exhibiting other common teething symptoms. Along with difficulty sleeping, these symptoms usually include: 

irritability/fussiness

excessive drooling

chewing

But if your baby is experiencing a rash (other than a drool rash), fever, or diarrhea, something other than teething may be the cause of their discomfort. In that scenario, you should speak with your child’s pediatrician. You should all have chosen a dentist and dental home for your children by age one. If you are not sure I would first check with the dentist and then the Pediatrician if need be. Both doctors can have varying opinions and I like to seek out the advice of both if need be.

1. Give a gum massage

Your baby’s gums are irritated and sore, which can explain the nighttime fussiness. So when they wake up crying, try offering them a cooling gum massage with a durable teething ring. 

With teething toys, make sure that they’re solid plastic rather than gel-filled, and store them in your fridge or freezer. Inspect the teething ring after every use to ensure that there aren’t any broken pieces that could pose a choking hazard.

Also, avoid teething jewelry such as necklaces and bracelets made from amber, marble, silicone, or even wood. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source warns against them because they pose a choking risk.

2. Offer a cooling treat

Sore gums can really benefit from a cooling sensation. This trick is easy to use and doesn’t require any special equipment — just the foresight to keep a few washcloths prepped in the freezer so you’re not scrambling at 2 a.m.

Take a clean washcloth, soak it in water, and then place it in the freezer for at least 30 to 60 minutes. While you should make sure that there aren’t any rips or strings, these washcloths can serve a dual purpose. Along with instantly cooling your baby’s sore gums, your little one can also gnaw on them as long as they like. I also like to take a piece of a bagel, place it in the microwave, and time it for 30 seconds. It comes out soft but will then harden in a few minutes after that and it will let the child gnaw on it and soothe the pain.  

3. Become your baby’s chew toy

Depending on whether this is their first tooth or not, you might let your baby gum at your fingers. Just make sure that your fingers are clean before you let them have fun. For added comfort, dip your fingers in cool water to help calm their gums.  Babies also like to chew on a toothbrush but please make sure it is one that if the child is walking and falls the toothbrush will not go to the back of the throat and not create a major problem. they do make a toothbrush that will only be able to go back no further than the second primary molars 

Make sure your hands are clean before you stick them in your baby’s mouth, but use your fingers to apply gentle pressure on your baby’s gums. Sometimes simply rubbing the gums will be enough to give your baby sweet relief from teething pain. 

5. Wipe and repeat

While most people don’t associate drool with being uncomfortable, letting your baby sit around with a wet face all day can contribute to rashes, which adds to the discomfort at night.

Even though you can’t catch every dribble, make sure your little teether is as dry as possible during the day so they go into the night more comfortably. This would be a great time to invest in durable bibs that don’t let drool soak through to the clothes beneath them. 

6. Try a little white noise

Sometimes all you need is a bit of distraction to help redirect your baby’s attention elsewhere. While this might not work for every baby, adding a white noise machine to your baby’s nursery can help them drift off to la-la land despite discomfort.

Some white noise machines also serve as night-lights or can be controlled remotely. 

7. Consider medicine

This tip should be more of a last resort as opposed to your first soothing technique. But sometimes, if your baby is struggling to sleep, some over-the-counter medicine might be the trick you need.

 Please talk with your baby’s pediatrician first before you give it to your baby so you can confirm the proper dosage. But baby acetaminophen (Tylenol) given roughly 30 minutes before bedtime can help to block mouth pain and help your little one drift off to sleep. 

However, avoid teething tablets and topical numbing medications designed to be used on a baby’s gums. 

Often, numbing gels don’t provide sustaining relief because your baby is drooling so much that the medication is washed away. Teething tablets can contain belladonna and numbing gels can contain benzocaine, both of which have been linked with dangerous side effects in babies, says the FDA. 

8. Maintain baby’s regular bedtime routine

This might sound like a tall order, but teething — much like many other periods in your baby’s life — is a temporary situation. No matter how tempting it might be to let teething disrupt your baby’s regular bedtime routine, don’t do it.

As much as possible, stick to the routine you’ve already established and try to keep your little one as comfortable as possible so that they can fall asleep. 

9. Stay calm and carry on

Rest assured, you’re not the first parent to deal with this. And no matter how stressful it might seem, you’ll get through it! Try to maintain perspective, keep your little one comfortable, and give them extra cuddles.

The takeaway

Teething is one of those baby milestones that most parents have a love-hate relationship with. On the one hand, it’s exciting to see your little one grow and develop. But on the flip side, those first few teeth are usually when teething symptoms are at their worst and nighttime sleep is most disrupted.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to ease the discomfort and make sleep possible for both you and your baby. And if you notice a fever or rash, call your pediatrician — there may be something else going on.  Old family or home remedies have been around for ages so if you choose to use one please investigate the pros and cons of them.  Now relax and don’t stress. It is only a short period of time that this happens and kids never remember. Only parents do.   Be safe and healthy and don’t forget the dental home by age one for any advice you may need.