Baby Your Baby: Teething

Most babies get their first tooth around six months of age. Before that happens, they start teething. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) -- Most babies get their first tooth around six months of age. Before that happens, they start teething. This usually begins around the four-month mark and can mean fussiness, drooling, and even a low-grade fever for baby.

“What we find is that a child can often be a little bit more irritable. They can just have some difficulty sleeping at night. Sometimes they are just generally fuzzy or uncomfortable,” says Dr. Catherine Strasser, a Pediatrician at Intermountain Layton Parkway Clinic.

Dr. Strasser says before you assume your child’s fussiness is because of teething, double-check to make sure it’s not something more serious.

“What I always want to caution parents about when we’re talking about teething is if a child has a true fever and it’s 100.4 or higher, that’s more likely to be associated with an infection of some sort and not teething. If your child has diarrhea or rash, again, those are probably not associated with teething. It’s probably due to another illness,” says Dr. Strasser.

If your child is teething, there are a number of products that can help. Products that cool or cold in the mouth can be comforting to baby. Dr. Strasser says using a traditional teething ring is great, and you can put in them in the refrigerator, but do not freeze them. The freezer temperature is too cold for a baby’s gums.

One easy thing a family can do for a teething baby is take a wet washcloth, fold it up, and put it in a bag. Put it in the freezer and let it get cold. Take it out, let it thaw a little bit, and then baby can gnaw and chew on the washcloth. This can be very comforting and soothing.

If you’re on-the-go, a teething necklace for mom is a good option.

“These are BPA free, they are a silicon based hard plastic that the baby can gnaw and chew on a lot of different sizes on a toy like this feels good for a baby,” says Dr. Strasser.

If your child is really struggling and needs something more at night, go ahead with the children’s Tylenol. However, Dr. Strasser recommends stay away from topical numbing gels.

“[Gels] contain benzocaine and often times the benzocaine in there can be harmful to small infants. It’s not recommended for children under two. Benzocaine can actually cause something called Methemoglobinemia where a baby’s heme molecule inside the red blood cell can’t carry oxygen very well so it can be rapidly toxic to babies if we’re overdosing them on benzocaine.

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