Baby First Tooth Symptoms
A baby’s first tooth is an exciting time – and also one that comes with some real changes in your infant’s behavior. First teeth may begin to erupt above the surface of the gums as young as three months of age or as late as one year old, though usually this happens at around the six-month mark. Prior to the emergence of the first tooth and subsequent teeth above the gumline, though, there will be some signs and symptoms of teething that may be observed in the months and weeks before; by looking out for some of the tell-tale signs, you may be able to better understand the process that your child is going through.
Signs and Symptoms of Teething
Although not all children are distressed by the teething process, it can be uncomfortable for some. Because infants do not possess language and are not able to convey their distress or discomfort with words, they are likely to become irritable or cry more than usual when they are experiencing some teething pain. This change in mood is usually most apparent with the first teeth to emerge, becoming less pronounced with the eruption of later teeth.
You may also notice that your child is more prone to persistent drooling and an increased interest in biting down on virtually anything they can fit in their mouth. While it seems counterintuitive, the pressure of biting down on something can actually reduce some of the discomfort they feel during the teething process; for this reason, teething biscuits or rings can be a welcome comfort for infants or toddlers to chew on as they like. Be careful to keep an eye on an infant or small child that has a teething biscuit, though, taking care that they don’t break off pieces that could cause them to choke.
Other behavioral changes include disturbed sleep and pulling on ears or rubbing one’s face. This is because the sensation of teething effectively encompasses the whole facial area and ears, and so infants or small children who are teething may try to self-sooth by rubbing or pulling on the ears that feel uncomfortable to them. While this is not necessarily a problematic action, take care to consult your pediatrician if your child continues to worry at their ears or face, primarily to ensure that they haven’t developed an ear infection or other such illness at the same time.
How to Soothe a Teething Infant or Toddler
Soothing a teething infant or toddler can be as simple as massaging their tender gums with a clean finger or allowing them to chew on a damp washcloth. Teething biscuits and rings can also be helpful, particularly those that can be made cold in the fridge or freezer – the cold temperature can help reduce pain and inflammation while also giving them something to chew on.
For babies who drool excessively during teething, be sure to keep their face clean and dry. This will help to prevent an uncomfortable rash from developing and heightening their discomfort.
If you are concerned that the discomfort your child is feeling is enough to warrant some over the counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, be sure to consult your pediatrician first; they can help you determine the appropriate dosing and frequency as well as providing other helpful tips, as well.