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The medical term for teething is called ‘Odotiasis’. The teething process generally continues between the 6th to 24th month in babies. During this time, the teeth start to erupt from the gums. The first two teeth which erupt are the top and bottom centre teeth. The rest of the teething process follows an outward pattern ending with the molars.
Teething Patterns –
- Lower central incisors
- Upper central incisors
- Upper lateral incisors
- Lower lateral incisors
- Second molars
The lower and upper central and lateral incisors emerge in sets of 2 each and the molars, canines and second molars appear in sets of 4.
Why Does Teething Hurt a Baby?
The process of teething is painful and causes discomfort to the baby. This is because the tooth starts to move beneath the surface of the gum tissue which causes the area to become red, swollen and sensitive. Some teeth, like the molars, hurt more as they are more sensitive than others, owing to a larger surface area
Signs and Symptoms of Teething in Babies
There are no particular signs or symptoms of teething. These symptoms could last for a few days or spread over a few months if a lot of teeth start to erupt at the same time. This causes the gums to start hurting as they are still sensitive. Teething may cause the following symptoms –
1. Profuse Drooling
Teething stimulates drooling, which means that the baby’s clothes are going to be constantly wet and soggy.
Constant drooling can cause the baby to gag and cough. However, this is not a cause for concern if there are no other signs of cold and flu.
3. Teething Rash
The constant dripping may cause chapping, redness and rashes around the baby’s mouth and chin.
Teething causes pressure from the emerging teeth which poke through the gums and cause discomfort to the baby.
The pain and discomfort are different for each baby. While some may breeze through comfortably, others suffer a lot due to the inflammation of the gum area.
Babies become irritable and fussy during the teething process because the teeth will keep poking into the gum surface.
7. Refusal to Feed
A cranky, uncomfortable baby may be soothed by feeding, as they will have something in their mouth.
8. Waking in the Night
The teething discomfort may cause the baby’s sleep to be disrupted.
9. Pulling the Ear and Rubbing the Cheek
Babies who are teething may tend to tug at their ear or rub their chin or cheek.
The severity of discomfort caused by teething varies from baby to baby and you can consult a doctor if you feel that it requires professional assistance.
Ways to Ease Teething Pain in Babies
Once you are sure that the teething process has started, you can use some medicine for teething babies to ease out pain and discomfort like –
1. Natural Remedies
There are some natural remedies which can be used to provide relief to the baby.
2. Lower Inflammation
The teething process causes inflammation, which stimulates the nerves in the gum. Hence, reducing the inflammation will help to reduce the baby’s pain.
3. Paleo-Type Foods
Providing paleo-type foods is very beneficial. This includes foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, pasteurised meat and healthy fats like coconut butter.
4. Rest and Healthy Food
You should ensure that the baby gets enough rest and healthy food in addition to formula and breast milk.
5. High Protein Foods
Lowering stress levels by lowering blood pressure. This can be done by feeding the baby with whole foods which are high in protein.
6. Cold Substances
Cold and pressure are two of the oldest tricks to combat teething pain and excellent remedies. Cold substances like a little ice or a cloth help numb the area and pressure soothe the inflamed gums.
Homoeopathic medicines for teething in infants can be tried to relieve the baby from redness, swelling and pain, and keep the baby calm.
8. Professional Assistance
There are medicines that can be administered by doctors if teething problems are too severe. Depending on the stage of teething, specific medicines are given.
9. Over-the-Counter Drugs
If home remedies are not helping much, then you may give the baby some over-the-counter medicines. You should have your baby evaluated by the paediatrician before giving any medication if teething is severe.
If you can distract your baby with some activities, they will forget about the pain for a while.
Home Remedies for Teething Pain in Babies
How to soothe a teething baby? There are a variety of ways to soothe pain caused by teething and there are home remedies too that can be utilised if you do not want to go the medicine way.
1. Frozen Cloth
You may let the baby chew on a piece of cloth after placing it in a freezer.
Make the baby chew on frozen fruit or vegetables on a cold spoon to help with the teething pain.
3. Natural Solid Wooden Toys
The wood’s roughness will be soothing for the baby.
4. Clean Finger
You can rub a clean finger over the sore gums to temporarily numb the pain. This is a common remedy that generally works more often than not.
There are teething biscuits available that make the process easier. They are unsweetened and great for kids who love to gnaw on things.
6. Cold Feeding Bottle
If you freeze a feeding bottle upside down, the ice that forms near the nipple causes it to become a little hard. Your kid can keep chewing on it if he starts getting fussy.
Bananas are great for teething babies as they are soft and do not get lodged in the child’s throat.
Carrots are another vegetable that can be given to babies as they are hard enough to chew on and will help your kid when they are teething. Always ensure you’re around because carrots could end up being swallowed and get stuck in the throat of the baby.
Cold applesauce is also comforting and a great way to pacify a teething child.
10. Vanilla Extract
Rubbing a little vanilla extract on your baby’s gums can also be helpful. The taste of vanilla will also be enjoyed by the baby
Ginger works as a fantastic solution to curb teething pain as the baby can bite the hard exterior and soothe himself.
How Long Does Teething Last?
The process of teething varies for each baby. While in some babies, the first tooth may come through at 6 months, or as late as the first birthday of the baby. The entire process could take about 2 years.
Teething timelines (approximate) –
- Central incisors: at the age of 6-12 months
- Lateral incisors: at the age of 9-16 months
- Canine teeth: at the age of 16-23 months
- First molars: at the age of 13-19 months
- Second molars: at the age of 22-24 months
Teething lasts about a week per tooth, it starts a few days before the first tooth erupts and lasts until a few days after the last tooth has erupted.
Teething is a difficult phase for both the baby and caregivers, but it is also an important developmental stage. Being empathetic to the needs of the baby and accepting the phase as a transitory and necessary one goes a long way in soothing any anxiety you may be feeling.