Parent Time

Teething in Toddlers and Older Children

Teething takes place sometimes between three months and two years of age: a long, long time if your child turns out to have trouble with teething pain.

While the first, early tooth is an event and a reason to celebrate, parents may worry about their children teething too early or too late, but it's such an individual thing that some children may start showing teeth soon after their third month while others may wait a year before a single little white cap appears. Most children start teething around the fifth or sixth month: about the time they are switching to solid food. Preemies will start later than other children, but this is an upside: you might get a chance to sleep through the night before the teething begins!

When babies start cutting teeth, the front teeth appear first, and then the molars come along three to six months later. By the time your toddler is three years old, he or she may have a full set of baby teeth –20 in all. Teething pain may start a month or two before the first tooth appears, since the gums become swollen and tender as the teeth start to exert upward pressure on them. Molars in particular can cause problems in children who had no problem cutting incisors because the breadth of the back teeth can cause more pressure and pain on the gums.

An infant who's cutting a tooth may be cranky, especially at night when there are fewer distractions. A 20 month old child or a two year old is generally cranky much of the time, and may be in the stages of active tantrum throwing while teething. It probably doesn't get much worse than that! The parents' job is twofold: try to keep the little one comfortable by using home remedies and various means of pain relief; and, make sure that the doubled irritability of your toddler doesn't mask actual illness such as an ear infection. Ear infections occur in children of this age, and the pain may cause crying, refusal of food and other signs similar to those of teething. In fact, many medical personnel tend to put nearly everything down to teething, making it more important than ever that parents be vigilant and assertive in making sure their children's medical needs are being met.

The main difference between teething pain and ear infection pain is that teething pain seems to diminish at times: pain from ear infection worsens. The other very important symptom of an ear infection is fever: fever begins, climbs and worsens. Some children may run a low, intermittent fever while teething, but it shouldn’t get worse and should never be high. Doctors are of divided opinion on the issue of teething fever: some say it's totally unrelated to teething and others say it can happen. The fact is that some children do run a low fever when teething and others don't. But if your child has a climbing fever, don't assume it's the teething: go to the pediatrician.

Having pain in the mouth is distracting, even for adults, Help your child combat sore gums with cold foods like applesauce, pudding or cold mashed bananas. Apply pressure with a gentle rub of your finger across the gums and let your child chew on a chilled pacifier, teething rings or cold carrots. At any age, popsicles are welcome for their numbing and cooling effects: make your own with herb tea if you don't want your child to eat a lot of sugar or chemicals.
 

Baby Teething Articles and Infant Information


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