Teething Signs And Symptoms, Plus 7 Tips For Soothing Sore Gums
It probably seems like your little one is growing and changing right in front of your eyes! You’re not imagining it. Babies develop a lot during the first several months of their lives! During this time, your baby will start teething and their very first baby teeth will poke through.
When can you expect your baby’s first tooth? How can you know if your baby is teething? And what can you do to soothe their sore little gums?
Our experts at Mustela answer these questions and more!
When Does Teething Start?
Your baby might start teething as early as three months, but the process typically begins somewhere between four and seven months old, or even up to a year.
The timing of teething varies a lot from baby to baby, so there’s no way to predict exactly when yours will begin or when their first tooth will make an appearance. No matter when they start, usually the first teeth you’ll see will be their front two teeth, either on the top or bottom.
Teething lasts until your little one is two and a half or three years old, at which time they’ll have their full set of baby teeth!
Signs And Symptoms Of Teething
It’s important to know the difference between a baby who is fussy because they’re teething and a baby who is fussy because they’re sick. So, what are the common signs of teething?
- Swollen, tender gums
- Lots of drool
- A very small increase in body temperature
- Chewing on things
If your baby is teething, you may also notice that they’re having trouble sleeping or don’t have quite the appetite they used to.
All of that being said, you should also know what aren’t symptoms of teething.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that if your baby runs a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or above, it’s not from teething and you should call your pediatrician. Teething also won’t give your baby diarrhea or a rash (other than a drool rash).
If your baby shows any of those symptoms, they might have come down with some sort of illness. Give your pediatrician a call.
Tips For Soothing Sore Gums
With a cranky, teething baby on your hands, you’re probably looking for safe and effective ways to help soothe their sore gums.
Before we get to that, we want to touch on what not to do, because there are all sorts of teething remedies out there. Some of them aren’t completely safe for your little one.
Teething Remedies To Stay Avoid
Your teething baby probably wants to gnaw on everything in sight. Convenient as it might seem, opt out of teething jewelry, like bracelets and necklaces.
They can injure your baby’s mouth, and the small pieces can pose a choking hazard.
A pain-relieving gel that can be applied directly to your baby’s gums seems like a good idea, but these teething gels aren’t as effective or safe as you might think.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says, “Pain relievers intended to be rubbed on a baby’s gums aren’t very helpful; a teething baby drools so much that the medication is quickly washed away. In addition, pediatricians warn that such medications can numb the back of the throat and interfere with your baby’s ability to swallow.”
Plus, the AAP specifically recommends against using products that contain benzocaine on infants.
Liquid-Filled Teething Rings
There are lots of things that are safe for your baby to chew on while they’re teething, but liquid-filled teething rings aren’t one of them.
The AAP notes that some of these rings have been recalled in recent years due to the possibility of bacteria growth in the liquid or your baby biting through the toy into the liquid.
Here at Mustela, we are big fans of natural solutions and eco-friendly products. However, it’s best to stay away from teething tablets, especially ones that contain belladonna.
This ingredient has not been proven effective or safe for your little one and can be dangerous in large doses.
It’s a good idea to give your baby cold things (we’ll get to that soon), but don’t give them toys or teething objects that are frozen solid, as they’re too hard for your little one’s mouth.
7 Safe Teething Tips
1) Massage Your Baby’s Gums
Your baby might find some relief simply from chewing on your finger! Take it a step further by giving them a little gum massage.
Wash your hands well, then gently rub their gums with your finger.
Speaking of massaging your little one, doing an all-over baby massage is always a good idea and may help calm your baby down in general! If you decide to try it, check out our article here, and use a skin-moisturizing oil like Mustela’s Baby Oil.
Composed of 99% plant-based ingredients and enriched with an elixir of Pomegranate Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, and Avocado Oil, our baby oil will moisturize your baby’s skin and stimulate their senses!
Plus, it’s free of parabens, phthalates, and phenoxyethanol.
2) Offer Plastic And Rubber Teething Toys
We mentioned earlier that it’s a good idea to stay away from teething rings filled with liquid. Instead, go with plastic and rubber teething toys that your little one can gnaw on to their heart’s content.
Just don’t give them toys with wood or small pieces that could break off.
3) Provide Cool Relief
Anything chilly will help soothe your baby’s gums. What sorts of things can you use?
For something cool and plastic-free that’s safe for your baby to chew on, wet a washcloth, twist it, and tie it on one end. Then place it in the freezer for a bit before giving it to your baby. Just remember not to let it freeze solid.
If your little one is old enough to drink from a sippy cup, offer them chilled water.
Finally, here’s an idea for babies that are eating solid food: chill their mashed fruit, baby food, or applesauce before feeding it to them.
4) Distract Your Baby With A Bath
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is distract your fussy, irritable baby. If your little one likes the water, what better way to take their mind off of their teeth than by giving them a bath?
With Mustela’s Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath, you can kick the fun up a notch while protecting and hydrating your baby’s skin!
This hypoallergenic formula is composed of 88% plant-based ingredients, including marine extracts to help maintain the skin's water balance, cornflower extract to soften skin, and our signature Avocado Perseose to help protect and hydrate.
5) Stick To A Bedtime Routine
Teething babies can be fussy and have trouble sleeping. Sticking with your established bedtime routine can help them get the rest they need!
A consistent bedtime routine will help your baby wind down for the night as their body clues into the fact that it’s time to hit the sack.
If you don’t have a bedtime routine for your little one, it’s never too late to start! It can include whatever works for your family — bath time, a diaper change and pajamas, singing a song, reading a book, and a goodnight kiss, for example.
The important thing is that you do the same activities in the same order every night.
6) Give Your Baby Acetaminophen
While giving your baby a dose of medicine shouldn’t be your first line of defense when it comes to teething, the AAP says, “If your baby is clearly uncomfortable, talk to your pediatrician about giving a dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol).”
The correct dose of acetaminophen can help take the edge off your baby’s teething discomfort.
7) Cuddle And Comfort Your Little One
At the end of the day, your irritable baby might simply need you! Give them extra hugs and cuddles when they’re teething, and remember that this phase will pass soon enough. Additionally, skin-to-skin contact has been proven to provide a number of benefits for babies and mothers including providing a sense of comfort, helping baby’s body acclimate to new environments, regulating baby’s blood sugar, and even relieving pain and discomfort.
Care For Your Teething Baby
Once you’ve checked your baby’s symptoms and you’re sure they’re teething rather than coming down with something, your job is simply to do what you can to relieve their discomfort and soothe their gums.
Stay away from unsafe or ineffective options, like teething jewelry, gel, and tablets as well as liquid-filled teething rings or frozen toys.
Instead, stick with our seven safe teething tips, including offering cool things, massaging your baby’s gums, and giving them a bath with Mustela’s fun Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath.
With a little extra TLC, teething will be no problem and soon your baby will have their very first pearly whites to show for it!