Common childhood illnesses & well-being
A guide for parents and carers
Teething trouble

Teething trouble

Every baby goes through it

The time when babies get their first primary teeth (milk teeth) varies. A few are born with a tooth already, whilst others have no teeth at one year. Teeth generally start to show when a child is four to nine months old, although every baby develops at their own pace. This is known as ‘teething’. Some babies show few signs while others find it more uncomfortable. Some teeth grow with no pain or discomfort at all. At other times you may notice that the gum is sore and red where the tooth is coming through, or that one cheek is flushed. Your baby may dribble, gnaw and chew a lot, or just be fretful.

There is no research to prove that other symptoms such as fever or diarrhoea are linked. You know your baby best. If their behaviour seems unusual, or their symptoms are severe or causing you concern, talk to your health visitor.

Think about your child’s tooth care routine. You can brush their teeth with a soft baby toothbrush and a smear of family toothpaste containing no less than 1000ppm fluoride - check pack for details. Brush teeth twice daily, in the morning and at night after a bedtime drink.

Pharmacist

Pharmacist says

If your baby is uncomfortable, you can buy some medicine from your local pharmacy. These medicines contain a small dose of painkiller, such as paracetamol, to help ease any discomfort. The medicine should also be sugar free. Make sure you read all instructions and that the product is suitable for the age of your child.

You can try sugar free teething gel rubbed on the gum.

Ask your health visitor about free oral health packs given at regular health checks.

Health visitor

Health visitor says

It can help to give your baby something hard to chew on, such as a teething ring. Teething rings give your baby something to safely chew on, which may help to ease their discomfort or pain. Some teething rings can be cooled first in the fridge.

All sorts of things are put down to teething - rashes, crying, bad temper, runny noses, extra dirty nappies. Be careful not to explain away what might be the signs of illness by assuming it’s ‘just teething’.

Dentist's 4 tooth care tips:

  1. Clean teeth twice a day, for two minutes, especially at night after a bedtime drink.

  2. Reduce sugars to meal times only.

  3. Visit the dentist every six months.

  4. Don't give juice drinks in a bottle. Your baby may still like using a bottle as a comforter and suck away on it for hours, giving sugar and acid plenty of time to damage teeth.

For help accessing an NHS dentist call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk

1

My baby has red cheeks and seems a bit frustrated and grumpy.

2

Have you asked your health visitor about teething? Have you discussed options with your pharmacist?

3

Try some of the gels or baby paracetamol available. If you are worried and things do not feel right, contact your health visitor or GP.