Health tips

Teething tips

A quick rundown of what works (and what doesn’t) for teething pain. 

If I had a quid for every time someone told me my son is miserable because “he is teething”…I’d probably invest it all in finding a magic cure for teething.  It truly is the bane of my life right now…

What are the signs of teething?

Let’s first start by saying that a fever of >38 degrees and diarrhoea are NOT signs of teething.

Other than that, anything else goes.

So is my baby teething or not?

There aren’t really any hard and fast signs that guarantee the cause of your little one’s upset is teething.  An increase in dribbling and repetitive rubbing of their gums is probably the biggest giveaway.  Some children get one or two flushed cheeks (mine never did).  A swollen gumline with little tooth beginning to poke through is probably the only definitive sign (stating the obvious, I know).

What can I do about it?

Option a)  Nothing.  Distraction is key, for you and for your child.  I spent weeks on end in my waterproofs pushing the double buggy up hills in torrential rain (I exaggerate somewhat.)  Like most things when it comes to babies – time will pass and things will improve. (I don’t mind you swearing at me under your breath.)

Option b)  Teething gels.  You can buy teething gels over the counter (I tried Dentinox).  They have a local anaesthetic in them (similar to what the dentist will inject into your mouth, but in gel form).  I didn’t find it helpful and you have to weigh up the risks of sticking your finger into the mouth of an irritable toddler with razor sharp teethlings…

 At your peril, that’s all I’m going to say.

I tried out the gel on myself and found the numbness you get from it is very short lived and the gels don’t taste too appealing either.  All in all, not a success in our household.  But no harm in trying.  Helps pass the time…again…til things improve.

Option c)  Teething rings/toys/remote control.  Anything rubbed against the gum line will help to soothe the discomfort.  My son hated anything very cold in his mouth, so before you invest in any fancy teething apparatus that is best served cold, do consider that the sprog may not be keen.  A metal spoon that has been in the fridge for 30 min is a good way of testing if your child will accept cold teethers.

What worked a treat was ‘Nuby The Nibbler’ in which I would put various fruit or vegetables straight out of the fridge.  It was great for hand-eye coordination, learning to self-feed and teething all at once.

Option d)  Pain relief.  If the misery just won’t stop and ‘option a’ just isn’t an option, giving the recommended amount of Calpol (paracetamol) or Calprofen (ibuprofen) is a good choice.  We didn’t use this option an awful lot of the time but there was the occasional bed time when we would.

Anything that isn’t particularly recommended?

Like most healthcare professionals, I wouldn’t recommend amber necklaces for the reason that they are a choking hazard and place your child at risk of being strangled.

Even if your child may not be one to swallow random things, many children do enjoy sticking the bizarre and wonderful up all the small holes they can locate in their heads.  Collecting beads from ears and noses is pretty commonplace in General Practice and A&E.

In conclusion…

Whichever combination of options you prefer to pass the time with, do rest assured that things will improve and if you are at all worried your child may be unwell please do seek medical advice as we are always happy to reassure.

Dr Claudia x

Please note: The materials in this web site are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. The web site does not have answers to all problems. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor. Dr Claudia x

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