CafeMom welcomed Dr. Ruby Gelman to the group to answer your teething questions. See her answers below!
Dr. Gelman is a pediatric dentist in private practice in New York City. She was chosen by Nickelodeon Parents Picks as the best pediatric dentist in New York City for 2009.
Vertical15 asked: What are the most common symptoms of teething?
Dr. Gelman answered: The most common symptoms of teething include: irritability, sleeplessness, drooling (can be excessive at times) and gum sensitivity. This may lead to your baby trying to bite things and/or trying to constantly put his hand in his mouth.
Kansasnewmom asked: What do you recommend for relieving teething pain and crankiness?
Dr. Gelman answered: This is is a tough question because it really has to do with how much discomfort you think the baby is in, or how much of the unpleasant behaviors you can tolerate - it's hard to see your child in pain! Teething toys, cold rings, even toothbrushes can give your child a sense of relief. Many kids seem to enjoy biting on objects while teething. For me, if my child woke up repeatedly in the middle of the night, I would give a pain reliever - either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Please give the dosage appropriate for your child's weight.
mrswillie asked: When should we start using toothpaste?
Dr. Gelman answered: You can start using fluoride free toothpaste anytime you want - as long as the toothpaste does not contain fluoride, we are not concerned about small children swallowing it if they have not yet learned how to spit. Most children learn to master spitting sometime between 3 and 4 years old.Work on spitting water in the sink before trying fluoride toothpaste, and slowly start incorporating a brushing with fluoride toothpaste. Pretty soon your child will be an expert! Please continue to place the toothpaste on the brush - a pea sized amount - and continue to monitor toothbrushing.
Desirae1394 asked: Is it necessary to brush their teeth at a year or is it more to get them in the habit?
Dr. Gelman answered: It is really beneficial to start cleaning your baby's mouth as soon as teeth start to erupt, or grow in. There are lots of toothbrushes and dental wipes on the market that are specifically designed for the young teethers. In my dental practice, I see very small children developing cavities, so the toothbrushing at under a year can serve both to help prevent decay as well as start good brushing habits.
lucyblue202 asked: At what age do most babies begin teething?
Dr. Gelman answered: The textbooks say that the average time for the first tooth to emerge is at or around 7 months of age. That being said, there are lots of factors that effect when teething starts. The normal range can be anywhere from 4 months to 14 months to get the first tooth.
slw123 asked: Does a baby sometimes adjust to 'teething pain'? My daughter isn't a fussy baby, but the one time she did fuss was when her first tooth came in. After that she didn't fuss with any of the others, it was always a surprise to me that a new tooth appeared.
Dr. Gelman answered: Yes, absolutely! All children have different reactions to teething. At my initial dental exam, I always ask parents about their child's reaction to teething and I get a very wide range of answers. It is a wonderful thing if your child does not complain while teething!
la_bella_vita asked: How long does it take for the average tooth to break through?
Dr. Gelman answered: Again, there is a wide range of what is considered normal for a tooth to fully erupt, or break through the gums. It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months for a tooth to fully erupt in the mouth. The molars or back teeth may take more time than the front teeth because they are larger.
mrswillie asked: Is teething painful for all children?
Dr. Gelman answered: Not necessarily! I am certain that most kids feel something when they have teeth coming in, but it does not always seem to cause pain or discomfort. Some infants know that something different is happening, but don't really get upset. Others are up all night crying - it depends on many factors!
Desirae1394 asked: What natural remedies are best while teething?
Dr. Gelman answered: Chamomile tends to have a soothing effect on teething babies and toddlers. There are many natural products on the market that contain Chamomile that seem to help teething. I have used the Baby Orajel Naturals line with my toddler with great success. But again, every child is different!
Mrs.Brugger asked: I've heard a lot of mixed things about teething tablets, ultimately steering me clear of them. Are they safe...or aren't they?
Dr. Gelman answered: I believe that as long as a product is both benzocaine-free and belladonna free, it should be considered safe. Both benzocaine and belladonna have been shown to have negative effects on children under the age of two.
MomToovey asked: Thank you, Dr. Gelman, for coming back to answer more of our questions! My question for you is about drool. Is drooling only a symptom of teething, or do babies drool for other reasons as well?
Dr. Gelman answered: Great question! I hear this question a lot from parents. I believe that drooling often starts off as a symptom of teething, then it can become a habit for small children. Like many other oral habits, it often stops abruptly. Drooling is often associated with teething, but it also has to do with the production of saliva as babies are starting to eat solid foods. If you have concerns about excessive drooling, consult with your child's pediatrician.
AspensMama1537 asked: Is there any food I can give baby that will help with teething?
Dr. Gelman answered: Babies often like eating cold foods while they are teething. A trick I used that worked well with my daughter while she was teething: I froze melon or strawberries and put them into a mesh feeder and allowed her to suck on that. She loved it and it was also a great way to introduce new fruits into her diet.
mrswillie asked: How should we care for an infants teeth?
Dr. Gelman answered: I believe that you should start cleaning your baby's mouth right away - before teeth appear, try to clean the mouth with a damp cloth or gauze once a day. This helps to prevent residue from building up on your baby's gums and inside their cheeks. As soon as teeth start to erupt, try to switch to either a baby-sized toothbrush or a brush that you put on your finger that will allow you to clean both the teeth and gum areas.
Lillysmommy0113 asked: My LO is teething (I think) and when I brush her teeth she screams and pushes the tooth brush out of her mouth. so is there an easier way to clean her teeth so she won't bite me or throw a fit?
Dr. Gelman answered: You can try one of the brands of tooth wipes on the market - those are fortified with xylitol which has been shown to help reduce the risk for developing cavities. In my experience with a feisty little one, brush as quickly as possible - as your child gets older, be sure to increase brushing time so that he/she is brushing for two minutes twice a day. There is no substitute for good toothbrushing and it sets your child up with good habits that last a lifetime.
Many thanks to all our moms for your awesome questions and special thanks to Dr. Gelman for her wonderful answers!