Q: When does teething usually begin? Is it true that teething can make my child ill? How can I reduce the discomfort of teething?
A: That first shiny white baby tooth that every excited parent is so proud of and wants to show off will usually appear in the front center of the lower jaw somewhere around six months of age.
Medically speaking, teething is not the cause of any childhood illness. However, many children do become irritable, run a fever, and have other symptoms when they are teething. Some of the symptoms/minor discomforts you may see include
- Being fussy or grouchy
- Sore or inflamed gums
- Increased drooling
- Loss of appetite
- Change in eating habits
- Difficulty sleeping
- Pulling on the ears
- Constant chewing on objects
The best way to reduce the discomfort of teething is rubbing the gums with your finger, cleaning your baby's mouth with a damp gauze pad two or three times daily, and giving your baby a teething ring to chew on.
Frozen teething toys and cold or frozen foods (carrots, etc.) are helpful also, as the cold may decrease the inflammation and pain and the hard surface can help hasten the eruption of the tooth. However, to avoid choking accidents, do not give your baby small frozen foods or foods that easily break apart and always supervise when your child is teething with foods.
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