Everything you need to know to get though teething
Teething can vary so much child to child! Some kids barely even show signs of teething and others struggle with pain for months. What are signs of teething?
- Drooling (more than usual)
- Swollen and red gums
- Chewing on hands or other items
- Low-grade rectal fever of 99 F (37.2 C)
- Sleep disruptions
- a Moms on Call reminder – we still don’t enter the room with teething in babies over 12 weeks of age! Stay out!
When is it typical for my baby to start teething?
Teething can start as early as 3 months. Many babies will have a tooth by 6-12 months of age. There is a typical pattern that teeth erupt:
What if my baby doesn’t have any teeth but other babies his age do?
Generally, it is not of concern if it’s before your baby’s first birthday (some sources say even 18 months). You can read more here. Talk to your provider if baby doesn’t have teeth by 12 months. Baby can still eat solids and most foods, even without teeth! Just take extra precautions with size and softness of food.
Care of teeth
Once baby pops a tooth, you should be brushing their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste., even if they can’t spit it out. Start with a teeny toothbrush made for small mouths. This silicone banana brush is fun and popular, as well as these finger brushes. Starting early and making it routine prevents toddlers from refusing to brush. Make it fun! We go with Tom’s Strawberry Toothpaste with flouride – the kids love it. You as the parents should apply a smear of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) from the time the first tooth erupts until the age of 3 (from 3-6 years use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste). It’s ok if baby swallows the toothpaste. As soon as they are able to rinse and spit, then you can reinforce this habit. Check out this link from the ADA on all fluoride FAQ’s and why they recommend using it. The AAP and the AAPD recommend seeing a pediatric dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts. They call it the “Brush, Book and Bed” campaign for kids 6 months – 6 years. Make it FUN! Make sure to brush teeth after bottle, boob, or sippy. We want to make sure we remove the natural sugars in breastmilk, formula or milk before bed. NEVER let your baby sleep with a bottle or sippy cup – for safety, but also to prevent tooth decay!
Pharmacological (Medication) Teething Tips
Babies under 6 months
- Tylenol (Acetaminophen)
- If you’re open to medication for your baby, infant Tylenol can be used in babies under 6 months. I am pro-medication (but YOU decide if it’s right for your family) because if I had a toothache, I would want some pain meds!
- Tylenol can be given according to instructions linked here. Make sure to call your doctor for the most accurate dose based on your baby’s weight. Sometimes it can be more than the bottle states (and this can make all the difference!). Tylenol can be given every 4-6 hours as needed in 24 hours, not to exceed 5 doses in 24 hours.
Babies over 6 months and toddlers
- Tylenol (Acetaminophen)
- Infant or Children’s Tylenol per dosing weight (click here). The concentration of Infant and Children’s Tylenol is the same, the only difference is the size of the bottle (but always check!). Make sure to call your doctor for the most accurate dose based on your baby’s weight. Sometimes it can be more than the bottle states (and this can make all the difference!).
- Infant or Children’s Motrin (Ibuprofen)
- Infant or Children’s Motrin can be given after 6 months of age. The concentration of Infant and Children are different, so make sure to check the label. Make sure to call your doctor for the most accurate dose based on your baby’s weight. Sometimes it can be more than the bottle states (and this can make all the difference!). Give every 4-6 as needed in 24 hours, not to exceed 5 doses in 24 hours
- PRO TIP: You can alternate Tylenol and Motrin every 3 hours in babies over 6 months of age (so the same medication is given every 6 hours) to keep on top of pain control.
- No need to wake baby at night to give medication.
Non-Pharmacological (Non-Medication) Tips
- Massage baby’s gums.
- Wash your hands and massage gums with your finger. Works so well! Careful if baby already has teeth – they may bite.
- Frozen washcloth
- Wet and wring out a washcloth, wring out, and place in freezer. It’s easy for baby to hold and soothes their gums so well! Molds right to them.
- Chilled spoon
- Stick a few metal spoons in the fridge and let baby gnaw!
- Frozen breastmilk popsicles
- Two ways to do this – make breastmilk ice cubes in a tray and then place in a self feeder, or use a popsicle mold.
- Frozen fruit or ice in self-feeders
- Camilia drops
STAY AWAY FROM
- Freezable teething rings
- They can burst and become a choking hazard.
- Amber products
- Amber Teething necklaces are A CHOKING HAZARD!
- According to proponents, Baltic amber contains a “natural analgesic” called succinic acid. When a baby wears the necklace, his or her body heat then releases this magical chemical from the gemstone and gets absorbed into the skin, thereby easing their pain. HOWEVER, the beads and necklaces are choking and strangulation hazards, so please be careful. Read more here.
- The amber does come in pacifier form, but still contains beads on the item. So PLEASE be aware.
- Items containing Bellodonna (Hyland’s teething tablets)
- Bellodonna is a numbing agent. Although no official studies have been done, these tablets have been linked to over 400 adverse events in infants and children. Best to stay away for now. Read more here.
- Orajel or items containing Benzocaine (a numbing agent)
- The FDA warns that there have been rare, but serious and potentially fatal effects of using Orajel or products containing benzocaine in children less than 24 months old. Read more here.
- Wooden Teethers
- You wouldn’t want a splinter in baby’s mouth!
Hang in there, it’s temporary. I promise! Did you see our post on Dental Tips for Babies, Toddlers and Kids?
**This post is educational and not meant to take the place of your provider. Bumblebaby makes a small commission on some of the items listed above