If you’ve ever had dental pain, you know how all consuming it can be. While most other pain can be treated or at least ignored temporarily, pain that originates in the mouth and teeth is excruciating. Luckily, adults can usually make a quick trip to the dentist to fix any serious dental pain they’re experiencing. Unfortunately for newborn babies, dental pain is a part of growing up, and teething is a painful but inevitable experience. Knowing how bad toothaches are will help you understand what your baby is going through, but the only cure is patience.

Most babies start growing their first teeth by the time they’re five months old. Usually, all of his or her teeth will have grown in by age three. You’ll probably realize your baby is teething when he or she seems especially irritable and upset. Other symptoms include drooling, sleep problems, gum swelling and any behavior that seems to be associated with the mouth such as strange biting.

In addition to being patient, the best thing you can do is try to ease the pain your baby is going through. Teething rings or wet washcloths are perfect for a baby to chew on. When these items are cold, they have a numbing effect on the pain. You can also try massaging your baby’s gums. After washing your hands, apply pressure to the gums. This seems like it would hurt your baby, but it actually creates a balance for the pressure of the teeth coming up, which will give him or her relief.

If teething seems to be interfering with your baby’s interest and ability to eat, you should let his or her doctor know. In that case, he might prescribe some sort of pain medication so that your baby doesn’t become malnourished.

Once your baby’s teeth have fully grown in, you should talk to his or her pediatrician about proper care. You’ll be brushing them for a while until your baby can finally do it on their own, so it’s good to know which techniques and angles might work best. Most babies are able to start brushing their own teeth by the time they are almost two years old.

Teething can be stressful for you and your baby, but it’s an important part of the development process. When it’s over, you’ll probably be happy to see your baby’s set of clean and healthy pearly whites.

Source: K Rensburg: Teething: Mother and Child Health. Professional Nursing Today Volume 16 Issue 1 pp. 16 2012

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