Author: Ma. Theresa Hilario-Jimenez, M.D.. GENERAL PEDIATRICS
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Teething is a normal part of a child’s growth. It is a preparation for them before they can progress in their eating habits. They will not be drinking milk forever and will need other sources of food to grow. Seeing those shiny, white teeth coming out makes your child’s smile seem brighter and it’s a milestone you proudly announce to the people around you.
Teething for some children may be just another one of their happy days. But for some, it is full of discomfort and pain that they cannot express. This results in your anxiety and fear that something is wrong with your child. Knowing facts about teething and how you can help your child will make you better prepared when those tiny white teeth start peeing out.
What are the symptoms of teething?
Here are some of the symptoms of teething that you will observe in your child.
1. Drooling. When teething your child will produce excessive saliva.1
2. Rash. Excessive salivation can cause irritation to the chin and can lead to a rash. Saliva contains bits and pieces of food that can be irritating to the skin of your child.1,2
3. Biting and chewing. Erupting teeth can be very irritating and cause sore gums.1 One way for them to relieve the soreness is through a massage in the form of biting.1 And this can mean biting anything.
4. Ear pulling or rubbing of the cheeks.1 Depending on the area where the tooth is erupting, your child can pull his ear or rub his cheeks.1
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5. Whining/fussiness.1 Erupting teeth can be painful which causes your child to be fussy.1
When does teething start?
Teething happens at different times with different children. For most children, teething starts at about 6 months old. It is still normal for some children to have their first teeth erupt up to 18 months old.1 If your child still has no signs of teething at 18 months old, make sure to inform your pediatrician on your next visit.
Symptoms of teething can vary from one child to another. In general, teething will last for about a week, a few days before the tooth begins to erupt, and about a few days afterward.1 When the teeth are erupting one after another, there seems to be no end to symptoms of teething.
Child Teething Fever: Is this Real?
Although fever is thought to accompany teething, there is no proof that teething causes fever.2
Other false symptoms of teething are diarrhea, diaper rash, or a runny nose.1 While teething usually happens when your child is 6 months old, this is also the time that their immunity is starting to wane. Because of this, they can easily catch viruses that can cause fever.1 Another reason for your teething child to get an infection is their chewing on everything increasing the risk of getting viruses or bacteria from the things they are chewing.1
Child Teething Remedies You Can Do at Home
Every child might have a different way of being comforted from the symptoms of teething. You can find what works best to soothe your teething child.
1. Gum massage. Rub the irritated or swollen gums with your clean finger for 2 minutes.2 You can do this as often as needed.1 For children above 1-year-old, you can use a piece of ice wrapped in a wet cloth to massage the gums.1 Pressure from the massage can help reduce gum pain.2
2. Chilled teether. Offer a teether ring or teether that is chilled in the fridge but not frozen in the freezer.2 Avoid teething necklaces because of the risk of choking and death.2 Do not use hard foods that can cause choking.2 Soft foods like melon can soothe the gum.3 Offering them a crust of bread or a breadstick may also help.3 Do not offer popsicles or ice that can cause frostbite on the gums.2 Children are at risk of choking, so always watch your child when they are eating.1
3. Cup feeding. If your child refuses nipple feedings, try feeding with a cup or a syringe.
4. Teething gels are generally not recommended.2,3 Some may contain mild local anesthetic that is not suitable for children. Always use a teething gel specially designed for young children.2
5.Pain medicine. Pain medicine is usually not indicated for mild discomfort. Gum massage will make your child feel better.2 If this does not help, Paracetamol or Ibuprofen can be given with the advice of your pediatrician or healthcare provider.2,3
6. Comforting or playing with your child will distract them from the gum soreness.3
7. Teething rashes caused by excessive salivation can be prevented by gently wiping the chin with a soft cloth.3
8. Remember to look after the newly erupted teeth to make sure they are clean and healthy.3
Teething can bring discomfort and fussiness to your child. But if your child shows signs such as fever or crying or you are not comfortable with what you see, be sure to consult your healthcare provider.3
Watching your child closely for any cues will help you ease his discomfort during teething time. This is another challenging time for you and your child, which both of you will soon overcome. So don’t dread teething time, it too shall come to pass. It also signals another developmental milestone achieved accompanied by a smile with peeking pearly white teeth.
- How Long Does Teething Last, available at https://kidcarepediatrics.com/how-long-does-teething-last/. Accessed on 24 October 2022
- Teething, available at https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/teething/ . Accessed on 24 October 2022
- Tips for Helping Your Teething Baby, available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/babys-development/teething/tips-for-h.... Accessed on 24 October 2022.