Is your toddler cranky, warm to the touch and gnawing on everything in sight?
Nope, it might not be that virus that's floating around the preschool. She's likely teething, and in a great deal of pain and discomfort.
While her baby teeth might already be in, the arrival of molars around the 13-to-19-month mark can be an especially difficult milestone to conquer. Larger in size and sharp on both edges, these teeth can be two times as hard to cut as her baby incisors, inflicting double the pain.
As a parent, you're already well-versed in toddler care. Still, it's always frustrating to see your child in pain, and teething is no exception. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can help ease the pain and provide much-needed relief.
Ready to learn more? Let's dive in!
Know the Signs of Toddler Teething
It's important to know if your toddler really is teething before you start any kind of treatment. While your pediatric dentist will be able to tell you with certainty if this is the culprit behind his wails, there are a few tell-tale signs.
For the most part, these symptoms will mimic the ones that your toddler felt a few months ago when those very first teeth poked through. Some of the most common symptoms to look out for include:
- Intermittent ear pulling
- Cheek rubbing
- Swollen and sensitive gums
- Constant chewing (even non-food items such as clothing)
- A loss of appetite
Are you nodding your head while reading this list? If so, take heart. Relief is around the corner for both of you. Next, let's take a look at a few common, proven ways to ease teething discomfort.
1. Serve Cool, Soft Foods
This isn't the time to introduce warm solids. Instead, try sticking to mainly cool, soft foods that can temporarily numb your toddler's gums a little. Go-to options include applesauce, yogurt, cold soups, and cold hummus.
While you're grocery shopping, make sure to avoid any citrus foods, as well as anything that's too spicy or acidic. These can inflame your toddler's gums even more, adding to her pain.
2. Try a Gum Massage
There are few things more soothing to your toddler than a parent's touch. This is even the case when he's teething. For a quick reprieve, dip your fingers or a clean piece of gauze in cool water. Then, rub his gums gently before mealtime to help make feeding more comfortable.
3. Use Chilled Teething Toys
Today, you can find a plethora of teething toys available both online and in the store. From modern teething jewelry to classic water-filled plastic rings, the options run the gamut.
However, you don't have to rely solely on the commercial teething toys available on the shelf. You can create one at home by chilling a washcloth in cool water, being careful not to freeze it. Even a hard bagel can do the trick as long as she can't nibble off too much. Make sure you're nearby no matter what you use, so you can monitor for choking risks.
4. Cool Down Fevers
Does your teething child feel warm? When they're in the throes of teething, they're unlikely to tolerate traditional temperature-taking techniques. That's when our stick-on temperature indicators can come in handy. With these convenient stickers, you can monitor your toddler's temperature for up to 48 hours!
Did the stickers confirm that she indeed has a fever? If so, help is on the way.
In addition to approved, over-the-counter fever medication (discussed below), you can also ease a fever fast with cooling patches. Designed to absorb heat from your child's forehead for up to eight hours, they're ideal for those long nights of tossing and turning that can accompany teething. This way, you can both get some much-needed rest!
5. Give Appropriate Medication
If your toddler is in unrelenting pain, ask your doctor if she can have acetaminophen, better known by the brand name Tylenol.
Make sure to follow the correct dosing guidelines for her age and weight and confirm the levels with your physician. In addition to easing her discomfort, this medicine can also help treat the low-grade fevers that often accompany teething.
A Note on Teething Gels
While it might be tempting to pick up teething gels while you're at the drugstore, it's smart to skip them.
Most over-the-counter commercial teething gels contain an ingredient called benzocaine.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that even a small dose of benzocaine can trigger a rare but life-threatening condition called methemoglobinemia. This causes the amount of oxygen carried throughout your bodies to drop to dangerously low levels. Though you'll find benzocaine in many topical sprays, gels, liquids or lozenges designed to soothe tooth and gum discomfort, it isn't worth the risk to your little one.
Conquer Toddler Care, One New Tooth at a Time
When you're knee-deep in the teething stage, it can feel like relief will never come.
Thankfully, there are many ways you can bring some much-needed comfort to your child's mouth. By following the tips above, you can help her sleep through the night, make it through the day with minimal pain, and enjoy mealtime again. Add this list to your collection of toddler care resources you can trust to make the parenting journey a little easier.
Another item to add? Our stick-on fever monitors and cooling patches! Not only are they a breeze to use, but they also provide important updates on your tot's condition so you always know what to do next.
Got any questions about our products? We'd love to chat. Contact us to learn more today.