Teething is the word used to describe the long process of a baby or toddler getting all of his primary teeth. This can be painful for the child and scary for the parent. By the time children have become toddlers, at least, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For one thing, parents are likely to recognize the signs of teething by the time the child is a toddler, and toddlers are also able to communicate what is bothering them more easily than infants can.
Children often get their first tooth between four and seven months, although the actual teething pain can begin several months before that. There are 20 primary or “baby” teeth, and most children have all of them before the age of three. The first teeth to make an appearance are often the middle bottom teeth in front, followed by front upper teeth a month or two later.
Toddler Teething Relief
For teething pain in toddlers, there are a few solutions. Wet a clean washcloth and put it in the freezer; this is good for children to carry around and chew on. Toddlers may also enjoy store-bought or homemade fruit juice pops for teething relief. To make these at home, simply put half fruit juice and half water in small paper cups with wooden craft sticks in them, and freeze. Another option for toddler teething relief is to get white gauze pads from the pharmacy.
Dip these in ice cold water and rub gently on your child’s sore gums. If a teething toddler seems to be extremely uncomfortable, ask her pediatrician if it’s okay to give her an over-the-counter pain reliever made for children.
Good Foods for Teething Toddlers
Toddlers that are teething may enjoy having hard foods to gnaw on. For example, a chilled, peeled carrot or cucumber. Just remember to only allow these foods under close supervision, as they can cause a choking hazard if pieces unexpectedly break off.
Teething and Biting
Some toddlers may begin biting because their gums are sore and the pressure of biting gives some relief. If this is the case, redirect the toddler with teething rings or toys to chew on.
When to Call the Doctor
If your toddler has a fever or seems especially irritable or out of character, call the pediatrician for guidance. The problem may not be teething at all, but rather a virus or other illness. Always check with the doctor before giving any medications or even natural remedies.