Teething can be distressing for some babies, but there are ways to make it easier for them. Every baby is different, and you may have to try a few different things until you find something that works for your baby.
Teething rings give your baby something to chew safely. This may ease their discomfort and distract them from any pain. Some teething rings can be cooled first in the fridge, which may help to soothe your baby’s gums. The instructions that come with the ring should tell you how long to chill it for. Never put a teething ring in the freezer, as it could damage your baby’s gums if it gets frozen.
Teething gels are gels you put on the sore parts of your baby’s gums. They’re designed to numb the pain, but it’s not clear if they work very well. It’s best to try other things first, such as gently rubbing your baby’s gums or giving them something to chew on (like a teething ring). If these things don’t work, you could ask a pharmacist about teething gel. Make sure you follow the instructions about how to use it and don’t use too much.
If your baby is chewing
One of the signs that your baby is teething is that they start to chew on their fingers, toys or other objects they get hold of. If your baby is six months or older, you can give them healthy things to chew on, such as raw fruit and vegetables. Pieces of apple or carrot are ideal. You could also try giving your baby a crust of bread or a breadstick. Always stay close when your baby is eating in case they choke.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen for teething
If your baby is in pain or has a mild raised temperature (less than 38C), you may want to give them a sugar-free painkilling medicine that’s specifically for babies and young children. These contain a small dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen. Children under 16 years old shouldn’t have aspirin. Always follow the instructions that come with the medicine. If you’re not sure, speak to your GP or pharmacist.
Comforting a teething baby
Comforting or playing with your baby can distract them from any pain in their gums.
Preventing teething rashes
If teething is making your baby dribble more than usual, gently wiping their face may help prevent a rash.
Caring for your baby’s new teeth
You’ll need to register your baby with a dentist when their teeth start coming through – find a dentist near you. Start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as their first milk tooth breaks through.