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Teething 101

Teething baby

Teething Symptoms

Many pediatricians, scientists, researchers and parents

have disagreed about the concept of teething, but any

mother of a little one over the age of 1 year will tell you

that whether or not it’s just a coincidence their babies

are miserable when their teeth start coming in.


Teething 101

When newborns are born they have “teeth buds” just

under the gums, and while there is no set time that

those teeth will begin to appear, typically their first tooth

will begin to break through between five and seven

months. Some infants can begin teething as early as 3

months and some as late as 9 months to even a year.

Typically the incisors (top and bottom middle teeth)

appear between the age of six to seven months.

Between the ages of 7 to 9 months the incisors will

come in on each side of those first teeth that appeared.

Around the age of 8 months, a baby may have 8 teeth.

The first molars begin to break through at 10 to 14

months and the canines at 15 to 18 months. Finally, the

second molars will come in typically between the age of

2 to 3 years.


Teething Symptoms

Many experts actually disagree about whether or not

teething even has symptoms, but most parents report

unique changes prior to the appearance of their infant’s

teeth. For instance, when a baby is teething their saliva

production increases. This has caused many symptoms

including drooling, which can sometimes cause a rash

on their chin, coughing or gagging on the excess saliva

and loose bowels due to swallowing that excess saliva.

Additional teething symptoms can be irritability or a

desire to gnaw on anything within grasp. The pressure

of the tooth trying to break through the gums can cause

discomfort leading to irritability. Many babies

instinctively reach for something to gnaw on as

pressure on the gums will sometimes counteract the

pressure caused by the teeth.


Misdiagnosing Teething

Most problematic for young parents is that teething

symptoms may very often be mistaken for common

childhood disorders. Pain from the gums can travel to

the cheek and even the ear causing an infant to rub

their cheek or tug on their ear. Many young parents are

taught to watch for this as a sign of an ear infection

and so, in response, a parent will take their child to the

pediatrician. The problem is that an irritable, teething

infant will probably have been crying as well which,

combined with the effects of teething, can lead to red

ear, commonly leading to a diagnosis of Otitis Media

and an unnecessary prescription for antibiotics.

It is very important as a parent to not be quick to accept

this diagnosis.


The American Academy of Pediatrics

(AAP) set new guidelines in 2004 to regulate overlyprescribed

antibiotics in the treatment of Otitis Media,

having found that prescriptions were being written

when they were not necessary.

The AAP suggests waiting 72-hours before giving a

child antibiotics as typically it can be water behind the

ear (or teething symptoms) causing a false diagnosis.

Another way to avoid getting an unnecessary antibiotic

prescription is to demand a culture test. There really is

no way to confirm Otitis Media without one.


Common Cold or Cutting Teeth

Another common childhood disorder confused with

teething is the common cold. Since teething can lead to

runny nose, mild/low-grade fever and coughing or

sneezing, many infants have been treated for a cold or

allergies when it was nothing more than a breaking or

cutting tooth.

It’s important to realize that our bodies were designed

to do things in a certain way and not everything needs

to be treated medically.


When Soothing Symptoms

Recognizing that there really isn’t anything that can be

done medically is little comfort to a parent who is

dealing with a fussy, cranky, miserable little baby.

Knowing what to do to ease their discomfort and relieve

some of the pain is empowering to a concerned parent

potentially feeling powerless.


 Teething Symptoms and the Aware Parent

“…Teething symptoms

may very often be

mistaken for common

childhood disorders.”

© 2010 The Wellness Family


The first thing to understand is that there are natural,

holistic choices, and it is never going to be necessary

to resort to pain relievers or gum-numbing agents.

These items can actually do more harm than good, and

aspirin should never be given to a baby even to rub on

their gums, as it has been linked with the potentially

deadly disease, Reye’s Syndrome.

Acetaminophen should also never be used, as the

long-term effects of the chemicals in pain relievers on

infants have not been recorded.

With regards to gum-numbing agents, while they have

been found to be effective, it is very dangerous.

Popular pediatrician, Dr. Sears says on his website,

“We do not recommend commercial gum-numbing

substances because it is difficult to learn their exact

contents and find research that validates their safety.”

The Right Way

The only over-the-counter teething treatment approved

by homeopathic and holistic professionals are teething

tablets. Designed specifically to help babies with their

teething symptoms, these tables dissolve immediately

in the mouth and naturally relieve swelling and pain.

Additionally, there are many home remedies that can

help to relieve pressure, pain and discomfort, bringing

peace to the baby and the household.


The first thing to understand is that the baby’s gums

are sore and aching. A sharp tooth is trying to push

through the gums and this is what is causing the

discomfort and resultant fussiness. Anything that will

counter-balance that pressure is going to bring relief.


Many parents have reported that a clean wet washcloth

put in the freezer for a short time, then given to the

baby to gnaw on brings welcome relief. The cloth can

be dipped in water or strong chamomile tea. The choice

of tea adds a calming agent and is soothing to an

infant’s tummy. Similarly, a frozen banana given to the

baby will give them something natural to gnaw on.


Some have suggested a frozen bagel, however, most

bagels are made with wheat or wheat byproducts and

giving these items to a child too soon can lead to food

allergies when they are older.


Ice in a sandwich bag, then wrapped in a cloth works

well, and for the older child already eating solid foods,

cold soft foods such as applesauce or diced papaya

can bring relief.


The most important thing to remember is not to use a

remedy if it isn’t something you would typically give

your child. Parents have been told to dip their finger in

Crème d’ Menthe (alcohol) and rub it on the baby’s

gums to “naturally” numb the gums and relieve the pain

while soothing the baby’s tummy. While all of that may

sound good in theory, remember that baby’s should not

be given alcohol.


The Chiropractic Factor

It’s important to not interfere with the natural routine of

teething. Every child is different, but teething has been

proven to be hereditary. If an infant’s parents’ first tooth

appeared when they were three months, then it’s safe

to assume this will be generational. It’s not even

unusual for a baby to be born with a tooth already in

place. Recognizing the body’s innate ability to work as

it was designed, Family Wellness Chiropractors guide

parents in natural ways to care for their children.


Contact Us by calling (952)931-9867 or using the form below

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