There’s a reason we often refer to new baby tooth eruptions as “cutting teeth” and that’s because for some infants (and certainly for some tired out Moms and Dads) cutting through the gums is exactly what a tooth eruption feels like! Imagine as an adult, experiencing the mounting pressure of something trying to “burst” through your gums. No doubt you would find it unpleasant at best and downright painful at worst. No one likes a toothache but with little ones, when you can’t even explain what’s happening, it must be ten times worse. So today, we thought we would talk about baby pain – facts and fiction – to help new parents through the process of “cutting teeth.”
- Your baby’s teeth will start coming in as early as 7 – 9 months of age. But like all things “baby” sooner is fine, and if there’s nothing until age 11 months, that’s ok too!
- Teeth continue to develop until about age three.
- You can provide some comfort with over the counter medications, as long as you read the label and use appropriately after a discussion with your Doctor, Dentist or Pharmacist.
- You can rub the gums with your own, clean finger, with a cool cloth or even a cold (but not frozen) spoon. The coolness will help ease the pain and inflammation.
- BPA free teething tools are fine as long as they are clean. Monitor when using and always check over these items regularly for loose parts that could form a potential choking hazard.
- Your baby might also experience runny nose and appetite loss, and not surprisingly – some irritability!
- It doesn’t hurt when teeth come in. Really? Universally, babies everywhere, would (if they could talk) probably agree this is not true. You can see it in their little red cheeks, swollen gums and in their tears. We all know what it feels like to have a toothache and it’s uncomfortable to be sure. Imagine being a little one and not knowing or understanding what is going on. Bottom line, I wouldn’t want to be the Dentist that tells a baby (or a new Mom!) that cutting teeth doesn’t hurt.
- Do not use over-the-counter painkillers that can be “rubbed’ on to your child’s gums. These can be swallowed by little ones and are generally not recommended.
- Don’t use teething biscuits – they are most often full of hidden sugars.
Up for Debate:
- The old “myth” about a fever while teething is a grey area I prefer to leave up to debate. According to most Dentist and Doctors too, (and the Canadian Dental Association) “getting new teeth does not make babies sick or give them a fever.” (1) However, I am loathe to tell that to any parent (and as a parent of 5 kids myself) because just about any mom will tell you that at some point while her child was cutting teeth, they also experienced fever. Who am I to argue with a mother because after all, who knows her child best? I will say this though: during teething a slight (and I mean very slight) rise in temperature can happen that may or may not have anything to do with teething. The responsible thing to do whenever your child has a fever and for whatever reason you may suspect, is to take your child to the family physician or a clinic to be checked over. Fever is often a sign of something else – like an infection present somewhere else in the body – so if the fever has gone on for a awhile and medication isn’t reducing it, always have a your child examined by a medical professional.
If you’re a new parent and you think more than just flowers are blooming this spring, feel free to contact our offices and arrange for a check up. Get your baby used to the Dentist early so that it becomes a familiar place for your little one. We can have a chat about good oral hygiene for infants and how to care for those first teeth as they emerge. Your baby can sit on your lap the entire time and we’ll do our best, as your local Family-Friendly Dentist, to make your child’s first dental visit a comfortable one! As always, thanks for reading and “don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”