Is your teething baby keeping you up at night? Understand how to soothe sore gums and care for your baby’s new teeth.
Although timing varies widely, babies often begin teething by about age 6 months. The two bottom front teeth (lower central incisors) are usually the first to appear, followed by the two top front teeth (upper central incisors).
Classic signs and symptoms of teething include:
Many parents suspect that teething causes higher fever and diarrhea, but researchers say they aren’t indications of teething. If your baby has a rectal temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or diarrhea, talk to your doctor.
If your teething baby seems uncomfortable, consider these simple tips:
Avoid homeopathic teething tablets and teething medications that contain the pain reliever benzocaine or lidocaine. They can be harmful — even fatal — to your baby.
Teething can usually be handled at home. Contact the doctor if your baby develops a fever, seems particularly uncomfortable, or has other signs or symptoms of illness that could be unrelated to the teething.
Ideally, you’ve been running a clean, damp washcloth or a soft infant toothbrush over your baby’s gums every day. If not, now’s a great time to start. The cleansing can keep bacteria from building up in your baby’s mouth.
When your baby’s first teeth appear, use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. Until your child learns to spit — at about age 3 — use a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than the size of a grain of rice. Then switch to a pea-sized dollop as they approach 2 to 3 years of age.
It’s also time to think about regular dental checkups. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend scheduling a child’s first dental visit after the first tooth erupts and no later than his or her first birthday.
Your baby’s teeth and gums will also be examined at well-baby checkups. Remember, regular childhood dental care helps set the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums
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