Teething was one of the most difficult times I've had as a parent. Both of my kids were absolutely miserable and through the magic of the transitive property, I shared in their pain. Baby teething tips are invaluable to soothe their pain and yours. I wish I'd have known half of what is contained in this guide when my kids were going through their teething phase.
When babies are teething, they often develop an elevated temperature. Plenty of people call it a fever. There is a difference between a fever and an elevated temperature, but it is largely semantics in my opinion. This is generally the first sign for me as I don't make a habit of digging around in my children's mouths. Somewhat luckily, cutting teeth always happens in roughly the same order so you can time it out and know when it's expected to be the toughest.
In this baby teething guide we will go over the order of tooth eruption, complications, solutions to those complications, and finally some tips that can help your little one to develop proper dental hygiene. Hopefully our baby teething tips can help your kiddo cope and in turn you can get some well-deserved rest.
Baby Teething Symptoms
Alright, so what exactly is teething anyways? In the introduction to this article I referred to the teething phase as 'cutting teeth'. This is somewhat of a misnomer. Our bodies are smart, and definitely not cruel enough to have tiny fangs slowly pierce through the gumline. Once teething starts hormones are released that allow certain cells in the gums to die and the gums to separate.
Sounds like it should be an easy enough ordeal, but unfortunately the separated gums still need a bit of pushing before the milk teeth can sit comfortably. This can cause the aforementioned elevated temperature and a host of other symptoms. There will be a lot of drooling, which can lead to a rash around your little cherub's mouth.
My babies also had a nasty case of diarrhea during teething. There isn't any scientific evidence to back up diarrhea being a symptom though, so the best evidence I can offer on that front is purely anecdotal. This seems to happen to most people I know that have kids, and I suspect it has to do with the hormones that are released to separate the gums. Though again, I am not a scientist.
Other symptoms include loss of appetite, rubbing of the ear and mouth, general irritability, and disrupted sleep pattern. All of these are very likely closely related to the swollen gums that your little one is being forced to deal with. You are probably feeling overwhelmed with the situation, but just remember that so is your progeny.
Solutions to Teething Trouble
Let us approach these symptoms one by one. This will be the meatiest part of our baby teething tips guide, so let us jump right into it! One of the first and easiest things to try is just giving your angel a little gum massage. Please use a clean finger. You can also try a moistened gauze pad or clean washcloth. Rub the top of the gum in slow, tiny circles with minimal pressure applied.
Your tot is probably rubbing his face and ears because it is exactly what he needs, but doesn't have the motor skills necessary to pull it off. While you have that moistened washcloth you might try wiping away some of the excessive drool. Keeping your babe's mouth clean will help in warding off the rash that can develop if left.
Speaking of rashes, you will need to be very diligent about diaper changes. Even more than usual. The diarrhea that came during my experiences with teething seemed to be exceedingly irritating to little baby bums. If a diaper rash develops then you're in for even more issues. If you thought you weren't getting sleep before, you haven't seen anything yet!
Regarding loss of appetite I'd suggest offering your baby something hard to nibble on. Breadsticks were a favorite for my kids, but maybe you can coax yours into trying some carrot or cucumber. Don't ever leave your bambinos to their own devices while they're eating however. Keep a close eye, because they aren't experienced eaters and could easily choke.
Disrupted sleep pattern is probably the most difficult thing to overcome. If rubbing your child's gums doesn't ease them back into sleep then I've found a clove of garlic to be a godsend. Some people might suggest a numbing agent like Orajel but the FDA has issued a warning regarding products containing benzocaine for children under 24 months. In rare cases some babies can develop methemoglobinemia. Check the link for more information.
Tooth Eruption Chart/Guide
This is a very handy tooth eruption chart that will allow you to see when certain sets of teeth are due to arrive. Add this to your baby teething tips toolkit for sure. While the incisors generally come through easily enough I've found that the cuspids and molars can be a huge pain to deal with, particularly the molars. You get a window between sets of teeth from a few weeks to a couple months, so try to use that time and catch up on all that sleep you missed.
Oral Hygiene is a Must!
The last stop on our trip through the magical world of our baby teething tips guide is how to take care of those little denticles once they pop up. Developing a routine is critical (as I spoke about in my previous article), and the sooner you start the easier it will be to stay consistent. While the milk teeth will eventually fall out, they do last for quite a while. Do you want your child to deal with tooth pain until their age is finally in the double digits? Heck no!
When your angels are still unable to control their swallowing it is important to use a minimal amount of toothpaste. Place a rice-sized glob of paste on a soft-bristled brush and give those little chompers a good scrub. Once your tots reach two or three years old it's possible to upgrade them to a pea-sized squirt of paste and allow them to attempt brushing on their own.
As with most things, the first attempts at brushing will probably be very messy. Once your kiddo is cleaned up though, everyone will surely marvel at the state of your little person's teeth. My baby's teeth look even better than mine! Granted they haven't had three decades of use, but once good oral hygiene is established and maintained you can be sure they will last many more decades than that.