Teething treatments for tots

We discuss ways to help ease your child’s discomfort when they’re teething. 

Teething can be a trying time for both parents and baby, but there are some simple ways to help ease your child’s discomfort and make life a little bit easier for you both.

According to Dr Mark Psillakis, Executive Clinical Consultant with Dental Corporation and an Associate Dentist at Bexley Dental in Sydney, a good and easy way to relieve discomfort in teething infants is to use a combination of pressure applied over the emerging tooth, and cold to help numb the inflammation.

Natural remedies

  • Teething rusks are commonly used by parents for their child to chew on while they are teething. Just check the nutritional panel at the back as they can often contain hidden sugar and salt.
  • Fruit or vegetables straight out of the fridge can also be given to your baby to gnaw on. Carrots or frozen bananas work particularly well. Ensure that the chunks of fruits or vegetables are large, so that the child is not in any danger of inhaling or swallowing them whole. 
  • A moistened or refrigerated dishcloth can be given to a child to chew on, just make sure it is clean.
  • Cuddling and soothing a teething infant goes a long way to soothing them, as does distraction. Sometimes a good game of ‘peekaboo’ can help take their mind off any discomfort or pain.
  • Infants tend to drool excessively when teething and this can cause an irritating rash around the mouth and the chin. You can apply a mild moisturiser, to prevent this irritation. Be sure to pat the skin dry afterwards rather than wiping it.
Mother playing with baby

Over-the-counter options

  • If these remedies aren’t as effective as you’d like, there are over-the-counter medications that can help, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. Make sure you give these medications as directed on the bottle and don’t give for longer than two days without seeing your doctor. Avoid giving aspirin to anyone under the age of 16 as this can cause Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal health problem.
  • Teething gels such as Bonjela should be used sparingly. It’s not known how much they help, and they may have ingredients such as choline salicylate that infants should not be exposed to in excess.

Methods to avoid

Many parents swear by teething necklaces made from amber, a fossilised plant resin. Manufacturers claim succinic acid from the resin has an anti-inflammatory effect diffused through the skin by the heat of the body.

However, beware! There are many websites selling plastic beads as amber, and whether plastic or amber, there’s also a risk that the necklace could break and your child may choke on the beads.

Finally, remember that teething is a natural, healthy part of your child’s dental development, and the difficulties will pass.

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