Teething pains start almost any time after 10/12 weeks, continuing for several months, or even years, depending on whether or not the eruption of the back teeth is also painful.
Common symptoms of teething include; bulging, red gums which are very tender to touch, the cheeks may be hot and red, the child will also be restless, irritable, and may be suffering from a raised body temperature. Teething pain symptoms are often accompanied by the symptoms of a mild respiratory infection like a headcold/sniffles. Diarrhoea is also associated with teething occasionally. Other symptoms include: drooling, lots of!, chin rash, refusal to feed, sleeplessness, ear pulling.
Teething is unlikely in infants under three months of age. Most of the over the counter teething remedies are only suitable from three months and up (e.g. BONJELA, CALPOL).
A teething gel for local application to the baby's gums can be helpful. Teething gels contain a good local anaesthetic that is easy to apply and which will kill pain on contact. Giving the baby a preparation that contains paracetamol as its active ingredient (e.g. CALPOL) can help this pain relief; paracetamol will also lower a raised body temperature.
Other preparations are available which contain paracetamol and an antihistamine and may be used when pain is particularly bad. The antihistamine makes the child drowsy and so it is best when used at night. These preparations should not be used long-term as they may be habit forming.
- A good safe teething ring will help a baby's teeth grow strong and will also help ease the pain on cooling and chewing. One that can be kept in the fridge is excellent as the cool sensation will help ease the pain.
- Older children may find benefit from chewing something such as frozen banana, the relief coming from the counterpressure of chewing and the cool of the banana,or a chilled carrot!
- If your child will not take medicine off a spoon due to the pain of teething you can use a dosing syringe, just ask your pharmacist.
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