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Dealing with Teething In Toddlers: A Guide For Parents

During toddlerhood, children experience important turning points while engaging in a time of wonder and exploration. One of these developmental milestones that can present obstacles and opportunities for both parents and toddlers is teething. Although the appearance of those small pearly whites is a big step, it frequently involves discomfort and fussiness. In this article, we will explore the challenges of dealing with toddler teething and provide doable tips to make the process easier for both you and your child.

As toddlers continue their restless exploration of the world, the onset of teething can bring discomfort and challenges for both parents and young children. The appearance of a toddler’s first set of teeth is recognized as a natural developmental milestone by the term “teething.” For comfort and support during this frequently challenging stage, it is crucial to understand how to deal with the teething process.  Join us as we equip you with information and practical advice so that you may gently and patiently assist your children through this transitional stage.  

1. Understanding the Teething Process

a. When Does Teething Begin?

Teething typically begins around six months of age, although the timeline can vary. Some toddlers might start teething as early as three months, while others might not show signs until they are closer to a year old.

b. The Sequence of Eruption

Teething in toddlers

Baby teeth typically emerge in a specific order. It starts with the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors, lateral incisors, first molars, canines, and finally, the second molars.

c. Signs of Teething

Signs of teething vary from child to child. Some common indicators include drooling, chewing on objects, fussiness, irritability, disrupted sleep, and a slight rise in body temperature.

2. Strategies to Ease Teething Discomfort

a. Gentle Gum Massage

You can soothe your toddler’s gums by gently massaging them with a clean finger or a soft, cool washcloth to ease discomfort and reduce pressure.

b. Chilled Teething Toy

child playing with teething toy 

Chilled teething toys offer comfort and counter pressure to your toddler’s gums. Ensure the toys are specifically designed for teething and free of small parts that could cause a choking hazard.

c. Teething Rings

Teething rings made of safe, BPA-free materials can provide soothing relief as your toddler bites on them. Go for coils chilled in the refrigerator (not frozen) for comfort.

d. Cold Compresses

child biting a cold compress cloth

Wrap a clean washcloth around an ice cube or chilled spoon and gently allow your toddler to bite or suck on it for brief periods. The coldness can help numb the gums and provide relief from discomfort.

3. Nutritional Considerations

a. Soft and Soothing Foods

During teething, your toddler’s gums might be sensitive. Offer soft and soothing foods like yogurt, applesauce, mashed bananas, and chilled, blended fruits to reduce discomfort during mealtimes.

b. Hydration

child drinking water

Keep your toddler hydrated to prevent dehydration caused by excessive drooling. Offer water, diluted fruit juices, or herbal teas to maintain proper fluid intake.

4. Oral Care and Hygiene

a. Brushing Emerging Teeth

As your toddler’s teeth start coming in, start practising gentle brushing using a soft-bristle toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. Gradually increase the amount of toothpaste as your child gets older.

b. Teething and Nighttime Routines

Night Wakings

Teething discomfort can disrupt sleep. Establish a calming bedtime routine with gentle oral care to promote good sleep habits.

5. Managing Discomfort Holistically

a. Distraction and Comfort

Engage your toddler in enjoyable activities to divert their attention from teething discomfort. Reading, singing, cuddling, and playtime can offer comfort.

b. Warm Baths

Child taking a bath

A warm bath can help relax your toddler’s muscles and provide a soothing experience that eases general discomfort.

c. Consult a Pediatrician

If your toddler’s teething discomfort seems severe or is followed by a continuous fever, diarrhoea, or other symptoms, consult a paediatrician to understand better.

6. Parental Patience and Support

a. Be Patient and Understanding

Teething is a phase that can test your toddler’s tolerance and your patience. Approach it with empathy, knowing that your child is going through a challenging time.

b. Create a Calming Environment

child sleeping peacefully

Provide a calm and nourishing environment to soothe your toddler’s discomfort. Dim lights, soft music, and comforting routines can help ease their fussiness.

c. Offer Unconditional Comfort

Your presence and comfort are the most reassuring factors for your toddler. Be there to offer snuggles, hugs, and verbal reassurance whenever they need it.

Teething in toddlers is a natural yet sometimes challenging phase that requires understanding, patience, and creative solutions. By recognizing the signs, employing soothing strategies, and maintaining oral hygiene, you can help your toddler go through this transformative journey with greater ease. Remember that teething is just one of many milestones in your toddler’s development, and your love and support make it better for both of you.

This article is approved by Dr. Vibhu Kawatra,  MBBS , DTCD, MD Paediatrics,  Fellowship Allergy & Immunology (Australia), Consultant Paediatrician,  Pulmonologist & Allergy Specialist,  Vibhu Nursing Home. 

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