What are the symptoms of teething?
Your child may drool while teething and develop a rash on the chin or face. The gums may swell and become painful, or your child may become irritable, rub her face, tug on her ears, or even refuse to eat.
Symptoms of teething usually vanish once you can see the tooth above the gum.
For example, fluid can build up, creating a bluish cyst over an unerrupted molar. When the tooth pops the cyst, your baby may get a mouthful of blood. That means the problem is over.
You might check with a pediatrician if your baby’s gums are blue or have lesions or bumps.
Until not long ago, doctors blamed teething for just about any kind of infant distress. But you should check with a doctor if your child has a temperature above 102, or any symptom more severe than drooling, biting, or crankiness. That includes congestion, sleep disturbance, coughs, numerous or bloody or explosive stools, or vomiting. You need to rule out ear infections or food allergies.
Pain from teething should be mild enough during the day so Baby can be distracted. If she’s unhappy all day, an ear infection is more likely.
How to soothe a teething baby
To deal with a rash, don’t rub off the saliva. Instead, pat her dry, and apply some white petroleum jelly to reduce contact of the saliva with baby skin.
Cold numbs the gums, so you can give your baby a chilled wet washcloth to chew on (you might keep them in food storage bags in the refrigerator, not the freezer). Cold purees or drinks may also help. Your pediatrician may recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen. They’re safer than aspirin, which is tied to a rare but serious condition, Reye’s syndrome. Teethers (or teething rings) and topical gels aren’t a good idea. You don’t want your child eating something toxic.
Some babies don’t fuss. They may wake up smiling with new teeth. Personality counts, as well as the density of your child’s gums.
Early teeth care
Near your baby’s first birthday is a good time for his first dentist visit, to check for decay.
Brush your infant's teeth with tap water, since fluoride is good for the teeth. Around age two, you can start your child on fluoride toothpaste.
Don't let kids fall asleep with a bottle or sippy cup, as the sweetness pooling in the back of the top two front teeth can cause cavities.
February 19, 2018
Janet O’Dell, RN