If you are a new parent who is experiencing the teething phase for the first time, you’re not alone. Every child goes through this uncomfortable phase, which often begins around 6 months of age and occurs off and on until they reach 2.5 or 3. As their baby (primary) teeth erupt, the discomfort is evident through their cries, unwillingness to eat, and inability to sleep. As a result, you, too, may find yourself struggling to achieve adequate rest during this time. If you want to help your little one find relief from the pain and sleep more soundly at night, a pediatric dentist is here to share a few ways you and your baby can better navigate this often restless time.
Effective Teething Therapies for Better Sleep
While not all babies experience the same level of discomfort while teething, it is not uncommon for it to be an uncomfortable process for most infants. As a parent, you want to do all you can to stop the pain and fortunately, there are ways to do it that will benefit both you and your baby. These include:
- Rubbing their gums with a clean finger or damp washcloth. Before you start, make sure you thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water. The gentle pressure you place on their soft tissues will help to minimize their discomfort before going to bed.
- Provide your baby with a solid teether to chew on. Those filled with liquid can break, so it is best to choose a teething ring or toy that is firm and can hold up to your baby’s bite force.
- Use a cold washcloth or cold teething toy to help comfort their gums. By allowing your baby to chew on a clean, wet cloth, it can temporarily relieve discomfort. If your child is older, you can try giving them sugar-free applesauce. Just remember to avoid any teething treats (i.e. crackers), as these can contain excess sugar and acid that can lead to tooth decay.
Ways Your Pediatric Dentist Can Help
One important thing to remember that will set your child up for better oral health even as an infant is to make sure you bring them in to see their pediatric dentist in or around their first birthday. This initial appointment will allow you to learn more about what you can do to help keep your baby’s teeth and gums cavity-free as they begin to erupt. You will also receive beneficial tips that will help you better prepare for the teething process and any developmental changes that naturally occur as your baby transitions from an infant to a toddler.
Your child’s pediatric dentist is a trusted and reliable ally who is available to provide the help you and your baby need during this time. Dr. Patrick is also a fellow parent and can share tips from a personal perspective. Should you feel as if you need additional assistance in choosing the right products or refining your current techniques, do not be afraid to reach out to a member of your child’s dental team.
About the Author
Dr. J. Patrick Bowman is a board-certified pediatric dentist who earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at the University of Kentucky before going on to earn a master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences and completing a two-year advanced training program in pediatric dentistry at the University of Toledo Medical Center. With advanced training in growth and development, patient behavioral management, general anesthesia, and pediatric medicine, he and the team at Wash Park Pediatric Dentistry are equipped to provide parents with tips and techniques designed to help any baby through the teething phase. Contact us at (720) 647-6310 or visit our website to discover how our experts can help you and your baby through this trying time.