Teething and Sore Gums
- Give your infant safe teething rings or toys to bite and chew on.
- Teething rings are often more soothing if they are cold, but do not freeze.
- Often a cold washcloth to chew on or just rubbing your infant’s gums with your finger is the most effective.
- Be sure teething toys are made of safe and non-toxic plastics or other materials.
- If your infant is over 6 months old, infant ibuprofen is safe and can be very helpful for the pain and inflammation of the gums.
- Homeopathic teething tablets are likely another safe and effective option, however this is still a medication and instructions should be followed closely. There was a recent recall of one brand of infant teething tablets due to safety concerns, which highlights the need to be cautious with any medication.
- As with any medication, follow the instructions closely. There is always a risk for an allergic reaction, so call your pediatrician if you are not sure what to do or if your child has a reaction.
- Teething gels with benzocaine (used to numb the gums) should be avoided since they can cause a serious and potentially fatal reaction called methemoglobinemia. Also, these gels often numb the whole mouth or wash away with saliva, which make them a poor choice for treatment. Children under 2 years old seem to be at higher risk for this serious condition, so it is best to avoid teething gels altogether.
- Don’t use alcohol of any kind on the gums to relieve teething. This was a common practice many years ago and again, has potentially fatal side effects
- Don’t give your infant anything to chew on that is smaller than the hole in a toilet paper role, since they can choke on small objects.
- Don’t use medications in an infant under 4 months old since they are more likely to have a serious reaction