Teething, how you can help your child
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.