Teething may cause a baby to be fussy or have low-grade fever (usually not over 100). Teething may cause loose stools and some irritant diaper rash. Teething does NOT cause high fever.
To make your baby more comfortable during teething episodes, give acetaminophen just as you would for any other type of pain. Children’s Motrin (ibuprofen), now available over the counter, is often even more effective for teething pain. A frozen bagel makes a good pacifier or you can try one of the water-filled teething rings that can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer for cooling. Teething biscuits, raw carrots or other foods, which can break off into chunks and choke your baby should NOT be used. Teething gels, which contain xylocaine, are NOT recommended. These can cause toxicity with heart arrhythmia if swallowed in sufficient quantities.
Some babies enjoy chewing on nipples (including Mom’s) or pacifiers while teething. Others actually begin refusing nipple feedings (even the breast). If this happens, try giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen about 1 hour before feeding time or using a sipper cup for fluids.
Your child’s gums should be massaged daily with a wet washcloth until the first tooth erupts. You may then change to a soft toothbrush with plain water or just a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the brush. Fluoride is important for preventing tooth decay but TOO MUCH fluoride can discolor your child’s teeth. Your child will need help with brushing until about school age. Younger children aren’t coordinated enough to maneuver the toothbrush everywhere it needs to go.
Most dentists like to begin seeing children around the second or third birthday for routine dental care. Check with your family dentist as to his or her preference. If your family dentist does not see young children, we can refer you to a pediatric or family dentist who does see younger patients.
For those with Medicaid insurance, we provide a free application of a sealant for your child’s teeth before the third birthday. This is proving to decrease the cavities seen in the later childhood years.
Obviously, sugary treats or drinks in excess should be avoided. The leading cause of tooth decay in children under 2 years of age is taking a bottle or breastfeeding in bed at night. This should be avoided.
The city water supplies in Johnson and Wake and most surrounding counties have adequate amounts of fluoride. If you have well water, a kit for testing the amount of natural fluoride in your water may be obtained from your county health department. Request a (Water Analysis-Fluoride) kit. The kit comes complete with all instructions and a mailing label. If your water source is found to be deficient in fluoride, a prescription can be given through our office or your dentist’s office.
It is a good idea to have your young child’s baby teeth coated to prevent decay. Our office will be coating teeth for Medicaid children in our office.