When your baby's teeth start coming in, things can get a bit challenging – if not traumatic. Your baby is in pain, and you're not able to get any sleep at night! Luckily, there are many ways to make your teething baby more comfortable, but there are also some treatments and approaches that you should avoid. Follow these do's and don'ts when caring for a teething baby.
Do: Use cold compresses.
A lot of the pain your baby is experiencing is related to swelling. As the teeth erupt through the gums, they irritate the gum tissue, causing it to swell and put pressure on nerves. Few things are as great at relieving inflammation as cold. There are teething rings made specifically for this purpose. You put them in the fridge for a few minutes and then let your baby chew on them. You could also soak a soft washcloth in cold water and then hold it against your baby's gums.
Don't: Apply sugar water.
This is a folk remedy a grandparent or other older relative might recommend. It might stop your baby from crying for a while, but that's just because he or she is enjoying the sugar water – not because it's actually helping with the teething process. In fact, coating your baby's gums in sugar water can be detrimental to oral health since it feeds the oral bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay.
Do: Use over-the-counter numbing gels designed for teething.
There are many different products designed to numb gums and teeth. Make sure the one you're using is designed specifically for teething babies – not for adults with toothaches or kids with painful braces. Products made for adults and older kids often contain higher concentrations of the numbing agents, so they might not be safe for your baby's mouth.
Don't: Use clove oil or other essential oils unless recommended by your dentist.
Clove oil is a tried and true remedy for toothaches. However, it is very strong and may cause irritation to your baby's delicate gums. The flavor is also very unappealing, so it might make your baby even more miserable. Unless your pediatric dentist specifically recommends otherwise, it's best not to put anything on your baby's gums or teeth that's not specifically labeled for that purpose. (This includes essential oils.)
To learn more about teething and keep your baby comfortable, make your little one's first appointment with a dentist like those at Woodbine Dental Pa.