There is no definite indicator when the first tooth will appear, how long it will take or how painful the process will be. In some children the first tooth comes out at night, without any symptoms, and in others – it is a long and unpleasant period accompanied by sleepless nights, loss of appetite and even increased body temperature.
There are various ways to relieve the discomfort of the child and make the teething process more tolerable.
It is good to provide the little one with a set of teethers, silicon rings and other toys for massaging the gums. When choosing them, have in mind that they should be made of non-toxic materials, should not contain BPA, PVC, phthalates, latex, and their parts should be well secured so the child cannot tear and swallow them. Regardless of their type, teethers should always be kept clean. Clean them with warm water and suitable detergent.
Another way to alleviate pain is through cooling. You may cool down a soft cotton cloth and give it to the child. To do this, put a wet cloth in a clean plastic bag and place it in the fridge for about half an hour. Then take the cloth out of the fridge and of the bag and give it to the child to chew on. There are teethers which can be cooled in a fridge. Again, place them in the fridge – not the freezer, because the cooling liquid may become too hard, may injure the gums and cause pain to the baby. When using such teether toys, always check their condition and never give to the child if you suspect that the liquid may be swallowed by the child. Cooled fruit is also a good option. Put them in a specially made net and let the child enjoy the cool fruit juice.
Regardless which option you choose, never leave the child unattended because there is a risk of choking!
Change of Environment
If the baby cries a lot, sometimes the change of environment does wonders. Take a walk or go outside on the balcony, take a bath or just change the toys – this will distract the child a bit and lessen the irritation.
In more severe cases, when nothing else works and/or there is also fever, you can give the child ibuprofen or paracetamol in a dose suitable for the age and weight of the kid. These substances irritate the gastric mucosa and should be given carefully and with due attention. Never use aspirin, even for a local massage on the gums. Aspirin should not be given to children under the age of 12 years.
There is a variety of soothing gels for teething on the market. They can be divided into two groups – herbal (homeopathic) ones and those containing lidocaine. The base ingredients in the herbal gels are camomile, belladonna, calcarea phosphorica, pulsatilla. An amount as big as a pea is applied on a teether and given to the child or is massaged onto the irritated gums after feeding or before bed. Have in mind that they can be used only 2 – 3 times in a 24-hour period. The other option are gels containing lidocaine which give faster results, however this is a drug and frequent use is not recommended. Also, make sure the gel does not contain sugar, because sugar increases the risk of cavities, but still has a nice taste for the child.
Sometimes nothing works and the only thing you can do is to wait for this difficult process to be over. Do not forget that in order for the tooth to come out it needs to pass through the bone and gum. Make sure the child takes enough vitamin D, because it not only prevents the development of rickets, but also plays a major role in the formation of bones and teeth by improving the assimilation of calcium. Always maintain good oral hygiene. This will prevent the accumulation of microorganisms and dental plaque, which may cause inflammation and further complicate the teething process. Plan the child’s first visit to a dentist. It should happen between the age of 6 and 12 months. The dentist will provide guidelines how to reduce the symptoms of teething and how to take care for them adequately.