Every baby is different when it comes to teething, but we can all agree on one thing. No one wants to see their baby suffer any kind of pain. In this article, you will find different natural practices to calm your baby at home and things you should consider avoiding. Let’s start with the basics first.
When does a baby start teething, and what are the symptoms?
According to American Dental Association, most babies start teething between 6 and 12 months, but the age varies. Usually, it begins with the two lower central incisors (the bottom two middle teeth), and then the other teeth start to follow.
Some babies might even be born with one or more teeth in their mouth, which are called natal teeth. It is a rare condition, and these teeth are not the same as the neonatal (those that erupt during the first 30 days of life). Diagnosis for natal and neonatal teeth is essential to plan treatment.
When we talk about pain, though, age doesn’t matter.
Every baby has a different way of expressing pain; some are easy to understand and others more complex. The first signs you might notice are discomfort, fussiness, and irritability. Your baby may start having trouble sleeping or lose appetite. Many babies experience swollen/tender gums or they might be drooling more than they used to.
These are all normal symptoms and shouldn’t worry you, but you should visit your doctor if your baby starts having a high fever or experiencing other concerning symptoms.
You should also keep in mind that, just as adults maintain a dental cleaning routine, you should always remember to care for your baby’s dental health as well.
Natural teething pain relief remedies
Let’s review some dentist-approved teething pain relief practices for your baby.
Pressure or massage
Use a clean finger and try to massage your baby’s gums while applying minor pressure, just to give them some comfort. You can also let your baby chew your finger for a while if you feel comfortable.
There is nothing more natural than this method, but always remember to observe if this actually helps your baby and does not cause any extra discomfort.
Breastfeeding might also be a good pain relief alternative for teething infants. However, remember that this might not work, even though some babies do find relief from the suction.
If you realize that your baby is still in pain while breastfeeding, try something different and don’t pursue countless breastfeeding sessions.
Cold items or food
Applying something cold can be beneficial for preventing gum inflammation and providing some pain relief. You can give your baby a cold item like a clean cold washcloth or some cold food.
Cold mashed or pulpy food can help with swollen gums because your baby won’t need a lot of effort to eat it. Also, if you include solid food in the diet, cold fruits and vegetables are ideal. Finally, hard foods like carrots are a great solution if the pressure on the gums is effective for pain relief.
Always remember to stay alert while providing food because there is always the possibility of swallowing a larger piece, increasing the risk of choking.
Before applying any of the above, be careful with how cold anything will be because you might cause more harm than good. Don’t give your baby frozen foods or frozen items because they might cause frostbite.
Chamomile tea is considered a home remedy for many different problems due to its anti-inflammatory and calming properties. There aren’t enough studies that indicate that chamomile tea is beneficial for teething babies, but it can’t hurt either if it is used properly. You can use it by soaking a clean washcloth into the chamomile tea, putting it for several minutes into the refrigerator, and then giving it to your baby to chew. You can also put your clean fingers into the chamomile tea and then massage your baby’s gums.
Just make sure that the tea is caffeine-free before trying this solution. Also, keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, so avoid this method if your baby is not greater than 6 months.
Finally, there are some teething toys that can be considered as a pain relief remedy for teething babies. However, you should pay attention to the material. A wooden toy is the most natural solution, free of chemicals that other materials have. Be careful because some of these toys may need oil before using.
What should you consider before trying other methods
There are a lot of products in the market that are specifically designed to help babies during their teething period, like plastic or silicone toys, necklaces, gloves, and even some gels and creams that you can apply to your baby’s gums.
We won’t go through them one by one, but we want to share some useful information. Most of these teething toys increase the risk of choking due to the possibility of breaking after the baby’s bites, and many of them include substitutes that are harmful and dangerous to infants.
Always discuss with your pediatrician before you try anything new for your baby. You can also speak with a dental hygienist because they play an essential role in preventative dental care for patients of all ages. They can guide you through this sensitive for your baby period and give you useful information and future recommendations about your baby’s dental health that may impact its adult life.
As you see, there are many natural teething relief remedies to try in order to calm your baby and soothe their pain. However, if something concerns you, don’t hesitate to seek for a consultation, because the best remedy is to ask your doctor first.
Caring for your baby’s oral health from the very first tooth is highly important and you should remember to schedule an appointment with a dentist around the age of one. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends this because you need to check whether everything is developing the right way and prevent any possibility of tooth or gum decay.
Please, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about your baby’s teething period or want to book your baby’s first appointment with one of our dentists and hygienists.