Teething: Brief Version

What is teething?

Teething is when new teeth start to push through your baby’s gums. You may see swollen gums or little points of white pushing through the gum.

Your baby may:

  • Drool a lot
  • Want to chew on things
  • Have mild gum pain

How can I take care of my child?

  • Massage your baby’s gums.

    Wash your hands. Find your baby’s swollen gums. Rub them with your finger for 2 minutes. Do this as often as needed. Putting pressure on the sore gum can reduce the discomfort.

  • Give your baby teething rings.

    Your baby likes to chew on smooth, hard things when teething. Give your baby a teething ring. That lets your baby chew on something safe. You can chill the ring in the refrigerator. Avoid ice or other frozen items.

    Do not give your baby ice, Popsicles, or other frozen things. The cold can hurt the gums. It could even cause frostbite. Do not give hard foods like raw carrots. Your baby could choke on them.

  • Watch your baby’s diet.

    Do not give your baby salty foods or acid foods like lemons or oranges. These can bother your baby’s gums. Give your baby teething biscuits.

    If your baby cries when she sucks on a bottle or nipple, change to a cup.

  • Give pain medicine if your baby needs it.

    Pain medicines usually are not needed for teething. If the pain increases and doesn’t respond to gum massage, give acetaminophen (Tylenol) for 1 day. You don’t need to buy special teething gels. The FDA says they should never be used in children under 2 years old.

Call your baby’s doctor during office hours if:

  • Your baby gets a fever.
  • Your baby cries a lot for no reason.
  • You have other questions or concerns.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-05-15
Last reviewed: 2014-06-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.

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