Babies are born with all 20 primary teeth below their gum line. As they start to come through the gums (generally between 6 and 12 months) there are some typical symptoms you will notice. These include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Drooling more than usual
Should you notice some extreme symptoms, we recommend you contact your pediatrician. Symptoms become extreme when you notice the following:
As we mentioned, teething is uncomfortable for your child. They may sore or tender gums when teeth begin to erupt. This can be remedied, at least in part, by gently rubbing their gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad. Babies tend to find the pressure beneficial. A teether is another viable option if they are coordinated enough to manage chewing on it. We advise a clean one comprised of solid rubber (the liquid-filled teething rings may break). We also recommend you verify the composition of the material which makes up the teethers you are utilizing as there have been rare instances of lead in metal beads marketed as teething bracelets.
We do not recommend the use of benzocaine products (numbing gels) for children younger than 2. The Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) recently cautioned “We are also warning that benzocaine oral drug products should only be used in adults and children 2 years and older if they contain certain warnings on the drug label,” the FDA said in a May 2018 statement. “These products carry serious risks and provide little to no benefits for treating oral pain, including sore gums in infants due to teething.” Benzocaine is an over-the-counter anesthetic, which the FDA notes are usually under the product names Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase. Benzocaine has been associated with a rare but serious—and sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced.
We also advise against the use of teething tablets, even those of the homeopathic nature. Recent laboratory testing found “inconsistent amounts of belladonna, a toxic substance, in certain homeopathic teething tablets, sometimes far exceeding the amount claimed on the label.” They went on to say that, “The body’s response to belladonna in children under two years of age is unpredictable and puts them at unnecessary risk,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The FDA also has stated that it is not aware of any proven health benefit of these types of products.
If your child has used homeopathic tablets or gels and experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething tablets or gels, the recommendations is to seek immediate medical attention.
If you have any questions about how to relieve your child’s teething symptoms, feel free to give us or your child’s pediatrician a call.