Teething is a process that is experienced by all children. The first tooth usually erupts around 6-8 months and a child usually has a full compliment of primary teeth (baby teeth) by 2.5 years of age. A complete set of primary teeth consists of 20 teeth total.
There are many myths regarding the symptoms associated with teething. Traditionally it has been believed that teething causes fever, diarrhea and a number of other symptoms. However, recent studies show that teething is not associated with fever or diarrhea. If your child experiences these symptoms during teething you should contact your child’s pediatrician.
The symptoms that are associated with teething are actually mild, with many children having no difficulties. Research indicates that the most common symptoms associated with teething are gum irritation, drooling and irritability.
What should I do when my child is teething?
- Use a teething ring chilled in the refrigerator (not frozen).
- Gently rub or massage the child’s gums with your finger or a wet clean cloth to relieve the symptoms.
Should I use topical anesthetics?
- Use of topical anesthetics, including over-the-counter teething gels, to relieve discomfort are not recommended due to potential toxicity of these products in infants.
- Topical pain relievers and medications that are rubbed on the gums are not necessary or even useful because they wash out of the baby’s mouth within minutes.
- According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), over-the-counter (OTC) benzocaine teething preparations can cause methemoglobinemia, a rare but serious blood condition. Methemoglobinemia may result in pale, gray- or blue-colored skin, lips, and nail beds; shortness of breath; tiredness or fatigue; confusion; headache; lightheadedness; and a fast heart rate.