Teething is a necessary and frustrating stage in your baby's life and in your life as a parent. When your little one is screaming in agony from newly erupted teeth, you desperately want some peace and quiet – but you also want your baby to be comfortable! Here are four safe ways to reduce your baby's teething pain so the both of you can get some rest.
Rub their gums.
As the teeth begin to erupt from the gums, the gum tissue becomes irritated and inflamed. Gentle massage can help increase circulation to the area and alleviate some of this swelling and soreness. Wash your hands well, make sure your finger nails are cut short, and then use the tip of your finger to gently rub your baby's gums. Move your finger in small circles, initially applying only very light pressure and slowly increasing the pressure over time.
Use refrigerated teething toys.
Baby stores sell a plethora of teething rings and toys that are designed to be placed in the fridge. Do not place them in the freezer – this may make them too cold, leading to sores and irritation in your baby's mouth. Purchase a few different toys so you can experiment a little and see what your baby likes best. Make sure you re-refrigerate the toy every 30 minutes or so. The chilliness is what's so soothing – it's like icing your knee or back.
Use baby-specific numbing gels.
Some parents are afraid of putting numbing gels on their baby's gums because they fear the gel will be too strong and may cause negative side effects. This may indeed be true of numbing gels that are designed for adults with toothaches. However, there are gels made specifically for little ones who are teething. They have been fully tested and found to be safe. Look for one that carries the ADA seal – this means the American Dental Association has approved it. Apply the gel using your fingertip, and only apply it as often as recommended on the label to avoid any side effects.
Feed cool foods.
Warm foods like oatmeal and soups may make your baby's teething pain worse. Cool foods may help reduce the inflammation. Some cool foods to try include refrigerated applesauce and yogurt. Try not to offer too much juice, as the high sugar content may feed oral bacteria that cause cavities.
To learn more about safe ways to manage teething, speak with your child's family dentist.