It’s often easy to see when baby is teething. He drools, cries for no apparent reason, puts his fingers in his mouth and bites on anything he can find. His cheeks are red and gums swollen. He may have a runny nose, refuse to eat and have diaper rash.
The first teeth appear around five month of age, but this varies a lot from one child to the next. The growth of the first teeth will not cause fever, earaches or diarrhea. However, the child is often less resistant during this period, and can thus be prone to such infections.
If your baby’s teething seems to be painful, give him a pre-cooled teething ring or a facecloth soaked in cold water to bite on. Watch out for freezing! Avoid giving him a pacifier or food to chew on to ease his pain. He could choke on them. Teething biscuits are not a good alternative, because they don’t ease the baby’s pain, and may cause cavities and tooth decay as they contain a lot of sugar.
A gum massage with a clean finger or gentle brushing with a small soft brush promotes blood circulation in the gums and appeases irritation caused by the eruption of the teeth.
Pharmacies carry teething syrups and gels that provide temporary relief through anaesthetic action. These products numb the mouth, which results in less efficient swallowing reflexes. These products are not a good option: there is a risk of the baby choking!
Homeopathic drops can also be used. They are, however, not effective on all children. Health Canada also discourages the use of teething necklaces made of wood and other materials because they are a choking hazard.
Acetaminophen is recommended for intense pain. It is a very effective and safe pain reliever for teething. Ibuprofen can also be used for babies over six month of age if acetaminophen doesn’t work. It’s very important to give this medicine with food, as it can irritate the baby’s stomach. Ask your pharmacist to calculate the right dose for the weight of your child.
To know more about teething, ask your pharmacist.