Controlling symptoms safely
If your baby has discomfort while teething, you can:
- Rub the affected gum. Use a clean finger (or cold teething ring) to gently rub the area of tooth eruption for about 2 minutes at a time. Many babies find this soothing, although they may protest at first.
- Provide safe objects for babies to chew on, such as teething rings. Babies who are teething like to gnaw on things to help relieve the pressure from an erupting tooth. Having safe objects to chew on can help prevent your baby from chewing on those that are dangerous, such as electrical cords or window sills that have lead paint.
- Give your baby an over-the-counter pain relief medicine that is labeled for his or her specific age. For example, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help relieve your baby's discomfort. Follow all instructions on the label . Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20, because it has been linked with Reye syndrome.
Although some parents use topical gels and other teething remedies, there are questions about how effective and safe these products are. Talk to your doctor about which types of products are safe and how often they can be used.
Promoting healthy teeth
You can give your child the best chance for healthy teeth and gums.
- Take measures to help prevent tooth decay in your child's primary teeth. For example, as soon as your baby's teeth come in, start cleaning them with a soft cloth or gauze pad. As more teeth erupt, clean teeth with a soft toothbrush, using only water for the first few months. Help to prevent baby bottle tooth decay by always taking a bottle out of your baby's mouth as soon as he or she is finished. Clean your baby's teeth after feeding, especially at night. When your baby starts eating solids, offer healthy foods that are low in sugar, and keep milk feedings during the night to a minimum.
- Schedule regular well-child visits with your child's doctor. During these exams, the doctor will check your child's dental health.
- Take your child to the dentist within 6 months of when your child's first tooth comes in but no later than your child's first birthday.1