Soothe Your Tot With These Teething Treatments
When your baby begins teething, you may notice reddened gums, excess drool or a low-grade fever. These uncomfortable symptoms may make it hard for your baby to get the restful sleep he needs or eat with ease.
The good news is that teething treatments exist — and most of them are inexpensive little tricks and suggestions that don’t require a medical professional or a prescription.
At-Home Teething Treatments
A conscientious parent can alleviate the common symptoms of teething in the comfort of a living room, kitchen or bedroom.
Many teething babies find toys designed especially for teething, such as teething rings, soothing. These can be purchased at most big-box retailers or niche baby boutiques, and they give a baby something more better to gnaw on than her own hands or toys that are not designed for teething purposes.
Some teething rings are designed to be given to the baby cool, a feature that can provide even more relief for aching gums.
“One of the best things a parent can offer a teething baby is something cool to chew on,” said Cayci D. Cathey, CPNP, a pediatric nurse practitioner with Pediatric Consultants in Knoxville, Tenn.
Cathey added that one mother who regularly visits her practice even gave her baby chilled banana pieces to help her little one through teething — and it worked.
While the cooling element of a teething ring is beneficial to teething babies, the National Institutes of Health advises against putting frozen items, like ice, directly against a baby’s sensitive gums.
Babies can also have their irritation eased by having a parent massage their gums with a clean finger. Bear in mind, however, if you opt to massage your little one’s gums, be sure to be extremely gentle. The goal of this is to help alleviate any teething pain, not irritate gums.
Medication, Gels and Ointments: Use with Caution
Teething gels and ointments may also be good options -- just be sure to discuss the best options for your baby, as well as how to administer them, with a trusted medical professional.
“I don’t usually recommend gels unless the pain is serious,” Cathey explained. “It’s easy to use too much gel or to use it too often. When that happens, it can make your baby’s whole mouth numb and even create a choking hazard.”
Some parents may opt to give their baby medication to relieve teething symptoms, especially if he is running a low-grade fever. However, you may only want to go this route if you’ve not had success relieving your baby’s teething pain through other means.
If you opt to give your child a pain reliever to deal with teething issues, consider using an age- and weight-appropriate dosage of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Parents should avoid giving babies and children aspirin.
Teething Treatment Don’ts
While it was a popular folk remedy in the past, parents should never rub alcohol on a baby’s gums during teething. Opt for soothing home remedies like a teething ring or a massage or gels, ointments and medications designed specifically for babies instead.
Additionally, some experts are advising against the use of teething biscuits now. While they were once a common remedy, the sugar some of these cookies contain may cause tooth decay. However, there are low-sugar and sugar-free versions of these biscuits available in some areas.