What can I do when my baby starts teething?

Up until the six-month mark, you might not need to worry about your child’s teeth, because it’s likely that they haven’t emerged from their gums yet. However, right around that half-year mark, their baby teeth begin to arrive. Teething is an exciting time but also an uncomfortable time for your child.

Naturally, your child will respond to the discomfort in many ways. They’re likely to try to bite things as gentle pressure on the teeth can relieve the pain. They may also become upset more easily, cry more often, and seek out soothing places and things more often. You may notice they drool more.  For your child’s comfort, and for your own sanity, it’s great to try out some strategies to help soothe them. 

Here are some dentist-approved do’s and don’ts when it comes to your baby teething:

Rub Their Gums

When your child is teething, they bite things to try to relieve pain. You can manually help relieve some discomfort by applying gentle pressure on their gums yourself. First, for health reasons, wash your hands. You can even use cool water to lower the temperature of your finger just a bit. Then rub your finger along your child’s gums and apply very gentle pressure.

Offer Chilled Teething Toys Or a Cold Washcloth

There are many toys and rings out on the market designed intentionally to be chilled to relieve your child’s pain. Most are soft rings that are meant to be chewed. We suggest that you buy a few and pop them in the fridge for a few hours before offering them to your child. Keep in mind that it’s not a good idea to freeze teething toys, as they become too hard and can be damaging for your child’s mouth. Rather, it’s best to buy a few and keep them in rotation in your fridge.

If you are unable to use a teething toy, you can use a cold washcloth instead. Simply grab a clean washcloth, run it under cool water, wring it out, and then give it to your child. Be sure to keep watch of your child with the cloth to avoid any choking hazards. 

Brush New Teeth Gently

Once a tooth or two has emerged, it is wise to start your child off with a brushing routine. Use hydroxyapatite toothpaste and brush the teeth gently.

Avoid Over-the-Counter Teething Remedies

We recommend you avoid over-the-counter remedies, such as teeth tablets and gels. Benzocaine and lidocaine, medications that used to be recommended for this purpose, are no longer considered safe for babies, according to the FDA. Not only are the medications unsafe for babies, but the FDA also argues that the gels and spray forms of these products are not very effective to reduce your child’s pain anyway.

Schedule Their First Appointment With Your Lakewood Dentist

It’s not too early to start your child off with the healthy habit of visiting the dentist. We offer free dentist appointments for kids under three to help them get on the right track for teeth health. Schedule your next appointment with Dr. Elizabeth Turner here and we’ll get to know your child and evaluate his or her unique needs.

 To learn more about our pediatrics dental services, visit this page here.  

About the Author

Dr. Elizabeth Turner is a whole-health, family dentist in Lakewood, CO who provides general, restorative, and cosmetic dental care. She focuses on the mouth-body connection and helps her patients smile confidently, breathe clearer, and live healthier lives. 

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