Survive Baby Teething | 5 Tips

5 Ways to Survive Baby Teething

Fevers, sleepless nights, and fits: these types of pain sound like teething! But don’t worry; we have tips from our pediatric dentist to help you and your little one survive baby teething. While uncomfortable, there are ways to make teething easier for your baby and you.

What to Look For When Baby Starts Teething

First, you need to understand the signs, symptoms, and what to expect when sets of teeth begin to come in. Drooling and acute pain from baby teething may start as early as 3-4 months, but teeth won’t come in until 6-8 months or as late as 12-14 months. 

Every baby is different, but generally, teeth appear in pairs, and it’s usually the front teeth. The bottom set usually appears first, followed by the matching pair on top.

Be on the lookout for drooling, redness on cheeks or chin, irritability, difficulty sleeping, grabbing ears, biting/chewing/sucking, and turning away food. Be careful not to blame teething for other symptoms such as diarrhea, runny nose, or high temperature. If you notice these symptoms that last longer than 24 hours, you should contact your pediatrician.

Do not be alarmed if your baby’s forehead feels hotter than usual. A slight rise in body temperature is normal for teething babies; however, any temperature over 100.4 degrees is a true fever not caused by teething. You should take your baby to a pediatrician if they break out in a true fever since it is typically a sign of an illness or infection that needs treatment.

What You Can Do to Ease Teething Pain (5 Steps)

1. Gum Massage

The teeth don’t simply erupt; they twist and shift their way into the gums, which sounds pretty uncomfortable! To help ease this pain and relieve sore gums, use wet washcloths, gauze, or clean fingers to massage the gums for pain management. You can also give them solid teething rings under your supervision. 

Massaging and chewing on firm objects helps the teeth break through the skin and relieves some of the discomforts your baby is experiencing. In addition, the gums around the growing teeth may be swollen and painful as each tooth grows upwards.

2. Ice, Ice, Baby

Look for teething rings that you can chill or freeze. You can also wet a baby-sized washcloth and freeze it for your child to gnaw on. Frozen foods such as bananas, carrots, celery, and popsicles also work. Celery has natural pain-relieving properties, so frozen celery works double duty!

3. Regularly Catching ZZZ’s

Teething pain may seem to worsen at night, making it hard for babies to sleep. The extra fussing is likely because your baby doesn’t have as many distractions to take their attention away from their pain. Try to stay on a regular sleep or nap schedule as best as you can. 

Painful symptoms may wake your baby up in the middle of the night. To keep their sleep schedule regular, use pain relievers. Children 6 months and under can only take Infant Tylenol. However, children over six months can take Children’s Motrin.

Be sure you give them the correct dose! Talk to your pediatrician to ensure you give your baby a safe amount of medicine. With the right dose, medicine is a good option because inflammation causes teething pain, and Motrin relieves inflammation, which helps reduce pain significantly. 

4. Skin Protection

Babies tend to drool while teething. Protect your baby’s chin using mild ointment before and during drooling spells to prevent face rashes. In addition, put bibs on your baby to catch the drool. The bib will help prevent drool from soaking through their shirts, so you aren’t changing their outfit six times in one day!

5. Ease the Hunger Strike

When teeth break through, sometimes it is so painful that your baby doesn’t want to eat. Try to give your baby something cold to bite on before mealtime. Chewing on something chilled will help relieve the pain and allow the hunger to take over.

What NOT to Do to Ease Teething Pain

Though some teething pain remedies may be popular, they may not be safe for your baby. So we advise you to avoid these remedies to keep your baby safe and healthy.

1. Teething Necklaces 

Amber teething necklaces and bracelets may look pretty, but the chain can choke or strangle your baby. Plus, while some may claim that amber helps relieve pain, there is no scientific proof that amber relieves pain. So err on the side of caution and give your baby a teething ring while under your supervision.

2. Teething Biscuits 

We don’t advise giving your baby teething biscuits to chew on since they can easily choke on chunks that break off. Plus, teething biscuits are high in sugar and salt—not very nutritious for your fast-growing baby.

3. Teething tablets or gels with benzocaine

Commonly known as Orajel, benzocaine is a local anesthetic, meaning it helps relieve surface pain. However, the FDA recommends using benzocaine only on children at least two years of age. That means your baby should stay away from benzocaine unless advised by their pediatrician and under close supervision.

4. Homeopathic teething tablets or gels with belladonna

Belladonna is a plant poison with a numbing effect, commonly known as deadly nightshade. The plant is very toxic; eating only a small amount of leaves or berries can fatally harm children. So the National Institute of Health (NIH) says it is unsafe when taken orally. You can find over-the-counter products with belladonna, like teething tablets and gels, but the FDA issued a safety recall for the tablets in 2010 and 2016 for their toxicity.

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When to Brush Baby Teeth and Visit Dentist

Now that your baby has teeth, how do you take care of them? As soon as your baby’s first tooth grows in, you should start to brush twice a day. Especially brush your baby’s teeth after the last drink or meal of the day to prevent tooth decay.


How to Brush Your Child’s Teeth

Use a baby toothbrush with small bristles and brush with water. Don’t brush your child’s milk teeth with toothpaste because babies tend to swallow toothpaste. Flouride toothpaste could cause them to have a bad stomach ache! When your child turns 2, you can apply an amount of toothpaste as small as a grain of rice. 

When your child is three years old, you can move them up to a kid-sized toothbrush with small bristles and a thick handle they can easily hold. Add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to brush their teeth. Teach your child to spit out the excess toothpaste when they can, but assist them with applying toothpaste until they are about 6.

You need to monitor and help your child brush their teeth until they are about 7 or 8 years old. Gauge their ability to brush on their own by seeing how well they can write their name; this will tell you if they can hold a toothbrush and brush their teeth well.


First Dentist Visit

Take your baby to a local pediatric dentist as soon as their first tooth appears or when they have their first birthday, whichever happens first. Since they have only one tooth, the first dental exam won’t require much interaction. Instead, the visits establish a relationship between your child, the staff, and the dentist. Early visits also help alleviate fears of the dentist as the child grows older. 

Plus, the dentist and staff can monitor your baby’s tooth growth to prevent problems like gum disease, cavities, and more before they become big problems. 

Teething will be a difficult time for your little one and you. Try these tips for taking care of your baby’s teeth, and hang in there while their little chompers grow! If we didn’t cover something that you’d be interested in learning, contact us, and our knowledgeable dental staff will be more than happy to help!


Frequently Asked Questions

Can teething cause fever or diarrhea?

No, if your baby has a temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or stomach issues like diarrhea or constipation, you should take your child to the doctor and seek treatment. Teething can cause a higher temperature but never a true fever. Teething also does not cause diarrhea or constipation.

When do babies get teeth?

A baby’s milk teeth, or their first teeth, can come in as early as 6-8 months and as late as 12-14 months. Teething usually happens a few months before a baby’s teeth come in.

When do babies get molars?

A baby’s first molars can come in around 13-19 months. Their last molars come in around 25-33 months.

Can babies be born with teeth?

Only about 1 in 2,000 babies are born with teeth, called natal teeth, which typically happen because of a condition or abnormality like a cleft palate or lip. Some syndromes cause babies to be born with teeth, like Sotos syndrome, Hallerman-Streiff syndrome, Pierre Robin syndrome, and Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome.

If your baby is born with teeth or their first tooth appears only a few months after birth, it is essential to see your pediatric dentist. Most of the time, natal teeth aren’t problematic, but if they’re loose or not fully developed, they may need to be extracted to prevent choking or tongue injuries.

Pediatric Dentists at Snodgrass & King in Middle Tennessee

If you are looking for a fun kids dentist, we have dental offices in Middle Tennessee (Mt. Juliet, Murfreesboro, Spring Hill, Franklin, and Cool Springs). We care for your child’s dental health, from baby to wisdom teeth!

Starting dental care from only a few months of age can prevent chronic pain, gum disease, cavities, and many dental ailments. Look out for Chomp! Your child may even see Chomp, the friendly, purple alligator, during their dental visit.