In many ways, teething is an exciting time, as it heralds the arrival of a baby’s first teeth. However, the process of teething can be long and laborious for a baby, not least as it’s painful and uncomfortable. Teething remedies can help ease the discomfort, but you do need to ensure the remedies you use are safe for your baby.
Babies begin to teeth at about four to five months old and by the time they’re six months, their first milk teeth (the lower middle incisors) should have made an appearance. Teething isn’t a quick process and the various milk teeth take a while to arrive – all 20 of them should be in place by the time a child is two and a half years old.
While some babies sail through teething with no worries at all (count yourself lucky if your child fits this category!), for others, it’s not such a pleasant experience. It’s not surprising really, as the teeth literally have to force their way through the gums. Some of the common signs that a baby is teething include:
- Flushed cheeks
- Swollen gums
- Dribbling (caused by extra saliva produced during teething)
- A fever
- Disturbed sleep
- Wanting to chew, bite or gnaw on things
Teething Rings and Dummies
It’s this desire for teething babies to want to chew, bite or gnaw on any available objects that makes safe teething remedies essential. Babies typically want to put anything in their mouth to try to relieve the discomfort, so it’s important to have inappropriate objects well away from their reach.
A teething ring or a dummy are ideal for relieving the discomfort of teething. It’s also possible to purchase teethers that have a special teething gel inside them. You pop the teether in the fridge for a while and some children really love the extra cooling effect. With this type of teether you should be careful to never put them in the freezer though, as this can result in a baby suffering from ice burns.
It’s also important for safety reasons to ensure the product isn’t used if it is broken, worn out or has any cracks, as you don’t want your child to accidentally consume the teething gel. The same goes for dummies, which should regularly be checked for signs of wear or tear. Safe dummies meet the British safety standard BS EN 1400.
Many parents find that they have to use teething medication too, alongside the use of teething rings. This is especially so if a baby seems to be in a lot of pain or discomfort, and it’s affecting their ability to sleep.
Calpol or infant paracetamol are safe and effective forms of pain control. Bonjela is also commonly used and rubbed on the gums of babies, but due to safety guidance, you need to ensure that you only use the special Bonjela Teething Gel and not the adult version.
This is because the other products, Bonjela and Bonjela Cool, may carry a risk for a child of getting Reye’s Syndrome, so they’re now deemed safe for only children aged 16 and above and adults. Bonjela Teething Gel, on the other hand, is completely safe for babies aged two months and older. All the packaging is clearly labelled, so it shouldn’t prove too tricky to purchase the teething gel.
Other Teething Remedies
Other safe forms of teething remedies include letting a child nibble on crunchy or hard foods, as this can help aid the soreness they experience in their gums. Ideal foods include toast, breadsticks, cooked carrot or slices of apple (bread is also good, if it’s firm).
At this stage, you should avoid giving your child sweet rusks or biscuits, as the sugar they contain could cause damage to the teeth, before they’ve even properly formed in the mouth.
It can often seem like teething goes on for ages, but as long as you’re aware of safe remedies you can use, the pain and discomfort can be significantly eased for your child.