Thursday, November 17, 2016

Teething pains

Every parent has been through it or soon will be--the eruption of relentlessly emerging teeth through tender gums.

Most babies get their first tooth at around six months of age. Some start as early as three months--or those teeth could not sprout until eight or nine months.

First up--usually the bottom middles. On top, the front teeth come in first, then the molars, and then the eyeteeth (pointy canines). The gums may also be swollen and red.

This process is uncomfortable--we can't remember--it may even hurt! Babies react by crying and fussing and/or chewing on anything they can get.

Besides red gums, the baby may be irritable, have trouble sleeping, drool a lot, and not seem hungry.

And, of course, with chewing on everything--they may pick up a bacteria or virus.

Is there anything you can do?

--If the baby is fussy, give it a plain, solid teething ring. Some parents chill it--but don't freeze it, which creates more problems. The baby can decide how much pressure to put on the sore spot.

--Offer cold yogurt or applesauce.

--Do not jump for the pain relievers--they probably are not necessary. Forget teething gel--it contains benzocaine, which should not be swallowed, as it will be if on the gums. Also--"teething tablets" have been warned about by the FDA.

A child will get 20 baby teeth. About age 3, it's time for a trip to the dentist. Yes, the baby teeth need to be kept cavity-free. Even though they will fall out, baby teeth are placeholders for the permanent teeth and help those come in correctly.

Use a soft pediatric brush and plain water on those adorable baby whites.

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