Teething. It’s one of those incredibly hard phases that kids (and parents!) go through. There are some products that work wonders and then there are some that don’t. Dr Samantha Byrne from The Tooth Fairy is writing for us again today and she’s back to look at what signs and symptoms are associated with teething and what you can do.
When do teeth come through?
Children get their full set of 20 baby teeth between the ages of approximately 6 months to 3 years. Despite tooth eruption (commonly referred to as teething) being a normal process it is one shrouded in myth and mystery.
Up until the late 1800’s, teething was thought to be a deadly process! Due most likely to a combination of high infant mortality rates and a limited understanding of the process of tooth eruption, many thousands of childhood deaths were attributed to teething each year. Symptoms attributed to teething over the years have included convulsions, paralysis, cholera and tetanus.
Teething coincides with a period when infants and young children experience many common illnesses and changes in behaviour which may explain the variety of signs and symptoms commonly put down to teething.
What signs and symptoms are associated with teething?
The symptoms most commonly reported in parental surveys include drooling, irritability and irritation of the gums.
Perhaps more importantly, symptoms that should not be put down to teething include fever over 38.9 ˚C, diarrhoea, congestion or body rash.
These may be symptoms of serious illness and should be investigated by a doctor.
What can parents and caregivers do to alleviate the common symptoms of teething?
A recent study of teething remedies found that these were the most effective drug-free remedies.
- Teething rings
- Cuddle therapy (exactly what it sounds like!)
- Rubbing the gums with a clean finger
- Very soft finger toothbrush
Thankfully these are a far cry from the hare brains and dog milk of years gone by!
A word of warning about teething gel and amber necklaces for the relief of teething symptoms.
The active ingredient in a popular gel marketed for teething, choline salicyclate, has been found to cause toxicity in young children.
This ingredient has been removed from teething gel in the UK, but despite calls for the same to occur here, Australia is yet to follow suit.
And despite there being no scientific evidence to suggest that amber beads are effective at reducing teething symptoms, there is evidence that they may pose a serious strangulation risk.
So, if you and your little one are in the midst of teething, stock up on teething rings and get ready to indulge in plenty of cuddles. And remember the appearance of that first tooth is the perfect time to make an appointment with your dentist for more advice on keeping those tiny teeth perfect for the Tooth Fairy.
The teething rings and other teethers in this feature article are available from ONE.CHEW.THREE
View other feature articles
5 tips for a tooth friendly diet – view here
5 top tips for preventing tooth decay – view here
7 questions about baby teeth answered – view here
About Dr Samantha Byrne
For the past 13 years, Samantha has been lecturing in oral microbiology and preventive dentistry at The University of Melbourne. As a former dentist with a PhD in oral microbiology, Samantha has a great deal of knowledge about the bacterial that live in the mouth and how to prevent them from causing disease. She is especially passionate about helping parents understand the relationship between diet and oral health, particularly in light of increasing rates of childhood tooth decay.
As a mum to 3 little boys aged 9, 6 and 4 Samantha started The Tooth Fairy as a vehicle for simple, practical information about how to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Top image credit – @raising.them.kind
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