Teething, how you can help your child

Central and North Burnett Times - - YOUR SAY -

ONE of the more com­mon is­sues raised with child health nurses is teething and what par­ents can do to help chil­dren as they strug­gle with the sit­u­a­tion.

Teething refers to the “erup­tion” or “cut­ting” of baby teeth through the gums of a child, this can cause dis­com­fort and even pain for your lit­tle one.

Due to their age it can be dif­fi­cult for your child to ex­plain what the is­sue is and often the signs of teething are through other be­hav­iour.

The teething signs to look out for

Some oral-re­lated signs that in­di­cate a pos­si­ble teething is­sue in­clude in­creased and ex­ces­sive drib­bling as well as more fre­quent suck­ing on their hands or ob­jects.

For many in­fants teething causes them to act out in other ways to ex­press their dis­com­fort and if you no­tice a change in their be­hav­iour it may well be due to this.

Some of the signs in­clude more tantrums and gen­eral crank­i­ness, more fre­quent cry­ing, a drop off in feed­ing, dirt­ier nap­pies and di­ar­rhoea, fever and pulling on their ears.

While these signs could be re­lated to some­thing else, it is worth con­sid­er­ing teething as a cause if they oc­cur more fre­quently than they used to and you can’t fig­ure out a rea­son

If your child is pulling their ear fre­quently, it gives you a clue which side of the mouth the teething is on. How can you help?

As men­tioned above, in­fants often re­duce their feed­ing due to the pain and dis­com­fort of teething, this in turn can lead to them be­ing un­der-nour­ished.

If your lit­tle one is teething, try to change the “menu” up by cook­ing mushier food which will be eas­ier for them to chew.

As for gen­eral re­lief, one of the more com­mon tech­niques is to in­tro­duce a rusk, which is a hard bis­cuit or twice baked bread, for them to suck on. En­sure that the rusk is sugar-free, as you don’t want to dam­age the baby teeth com­ing through.

An­other method you can try is to pro­vide some­thing cold for your child such as a teething ring or dummy to chew and suck on.

This will pro­vide great re­lief for them, just en­sure it’s not frozen.

Other toddler teeth is­sues

Teething is just one of the oral health re­lated is­sues that par­ents bring up with our child health teams. Oth­ers in­clude thumb suck­ing and teeth grind­ing.

In­fants suck­ing on their thumbs or fingers is ac­tu­ally a nat­u­ral re­flex and isn’t some­thing you should worry about at a young age.

Some time be­tween the ages of two and four your child should stop suck­ing their thumbs and fingers. So be pa­tient and wait un­til they grow out of it.

If they do con­tinue be­yond the age of four, then it’s worth vis­it­ing your fam­ily’s doc­tor.

Again your child should just nat­u­rally grow out of grind­ing, but it does be­come a con­cern if it is lead­ing to headaches, pain or teeth wear­ing down. If these is­sues oc­cur then you should book a den­tal ap­point­ment.

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