Let’s face it, teething is not fun for anyone, but more so when you have no clue what’s going on. Your baby is whaling, running a fever and now you’re panicking too.
Firstly, take a deep breath in, exhale and don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not the only one who’s experiencing this —the teething process is universally misunderstood, and today we are going to set the record straight on teething myths.
MYTH 1: IT’S TOO EARLY FOR MY BABY TO CUT TEETH
You can expect to see the symptoms of teething after six months, and no earlier.
FACT 1: WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
Pediatricians say, the average age for the bottom middle teeth to come out is between 4-6 months. But don’t be alarmed should you see them before as some baby’s teeth appear after birth. If you are not sure what to look for, keep an eye on the two bottom front teeth, Lower Central Incisors, these tend to appear first. They will be followed by the two top front teeth, Upper Central Incisors, and after a year, you can expect to see the molars appear. The molars and the first few teeth will be the worst but the next few teeth will come through more easily. Teething will last for roughly 12 months and within 30 months, your baby should have a full set of milk teeth.
MYTH 2: TEETHING CAUSES FEVER
My baby has a fever, it must be the result of teething.
FACT 2: SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH TEETHING
Teething does cause irritation and inflammation of the gums, and inflammation anywhere can result in a slight increase in body temperature. But teething does not cause a fever.
According to Pediatrics research, teething is often accompanied by a slight uptick in body temperature, and it seldom causes anything high enough to be considered a fever (over 38°C).
Additional teething symptoms include:
- Mild temperature increase
- Sleep disturbance
- Appetite loss
MYTH 3: AMBER TEETHING NECKLACES
Some mums believe that beads work, claiming that the baby’s body heat activates the amber thus releasing succinic acid, which is believed to have pain-killing properties.
FACT 3: TEETHING TOYS
There is no hard or scientific evidence that suggests that amber beads actually help teething. A firm rubber teething ring or toy to chew on, can soothe your baby’s teething pains. A clean cool, damp washcloth is also a good alternative to chew on. Some mums have attributed the temperature of the cloth to the relief of pain, so to this extent they suggest placing the cloth in the freezer. Lastly, we recommend giving your baby chilled, soft foods like applesauce or yogurt.
MYTH 4: TEETHING GELS ARE SAFE
Teething gels are safe for babies and toddlers of all ages.
FACT 4: GUM RUBS
It is recommended by doctors that teething gels only be given to toddlers who are over the age of two. This is because the gels contain a numbing agent called benzocaine, which in extreme cases has been reported to cause Methemoglobinemia which affects the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Rather opt for rubbing your baby’s gums.
First, wash your hands and then rub your baby’s gums. You can use a moistened gauze pad to rub your baby’s gums too. Slight pressure can also ease your baby’s discomfort.
If all else fails, a warm bath or even a surprise cuddle will magically help. Sometimes a change of scenery or a good-old distraction tactic may help take your baby’s mind off the teething pain —at least for a moment until you try the next thing. Lastly, we recommend that if your baby has severe symptoms, don’t brush-it-off as teething. Visit your trusted Pediatrician or GP.
For more articles on all things baby, toddlers, preschoolers and pregnancy, visit the Profmed Baby Blog.