It’s not hard to tell when your baby starts teething. He or she may irritable during the day and sleepless at night. (And you might be too!) Here’s what to expect and how to keep your baby comfortable.
When Does Teething Start?
Your baby was born with all 20 primary teeth below their gum line. They typically start to come through between 6 and 12 months. Children usually have their full set of baby teeth in place by age 3.
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Drooling more than usual
What’s not normal?
If your baby has any of these symptoms while teething and continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your pediatrician.
How to Soothe a Teething Baby
Your child may have sore or tender gums when teeth begin to erupt. Gently rubbing their gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad can be soothing. A clean teething ring for your child to chew on may also help. Your dentist or pediatrician may recommend a pacifier or teething ring.
Are Numbing Gels or Teething Tablets Safe For My Baby?
The Food and Drug Administration recommends that parents and caregivers not use benzocaine products for children younger than 2, except under the advice and supervision of a healthcare professional. Benzocaine is an over-the-counter anesthetic, which the FDA notes are usually under the product names Anbesol, Hurricane, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Orabase. Benzocaine has been associated with a rare but serious—and sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the bloodstream is greatly reduced.
In September 2016, the FDA recommended that parents stop using homeopathic teething tablets and gels. “Homeopathic teething tablets and gels have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety or efficacy,” the FDA says. “The agency is also not aware of any proven health benefit of the products, which are labeled to relieve teething symptoms in children.”
The FDA states these products are distributed by CVS, Hyland’s and possibly others, and are sold in retail stores and online.
“Consumers should seek medical care immediately if their child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething tablets or gels,” the FDA states.
If you have any questions about how to relieve your child’s teething symptoms, talk to your dentist or pediatrician.