Self-Care at Home
- Often, the infant will feel better when gentle pressure is placed on the gums. For this reason, many doctors recommend gently rubbing the gums with a clean finger or having the child bite down on a clean washcloth.
- If the pain seems to be causing feeding problems, sometimes a different-shaped nipple or use of a cup may reduce discomfort and improve feeding.
- Cold objects may help reduce the inflammation as well. Veteran parents have discovered the usefulness of frozen washcloths for this purpose. Be careful to avoid having prolonged contact of very cold objects on the gums. Also, never put anything into a child's mouth that might cause the child to choke.
- Use of pain medications: Some controversy surrounds the use of pain medicines.
- Medicines that can be placed on the gums: Topical pain relievers containing benzocaine should not be used for teething. The FDA warns that dangerous, sometimes life-threatening side effects can be caused by such products. Benzocaine can be found in over-the-counter medications.
- Medicines that are taken by mouth to help reduce the pain: Acetaminophen (Children's Tylenol, for example). Ibuprofen should not be used in infants less than 6 months old.They should be used only for the few times when the other home care methods do not help. Caution should be taken not to overmedicate for teething. The medicine may cover up a fever that could be important to know about. If you are using a pain medicine for more than 2 days, speak to your doctor. Do not give children products containing aspirin.
Consult your baby's doctor if there is severe swelling, redness, or bleeding from the gums.