If your baby is waking several times during the night it is unlikely to be directly related to teething. Your baby’s deepest sleep is from bed time through to midnight and from midnight till 7am your baby is in a light sleep phase and it is very common for your them to wake frequently and need to be settled.
Study on teething and related symptoms
When your baby is born, they generally have all their baby teeth (also known as primary teeth), but you cannot see them yet.
Girls teeth generally appear earlier than boys. Most children will have all of their 20 baby teeth by the age of three years.
For some babies the arrival of teeth happens without any pain, whilst for other babies teething may cause discomfort.
Teeth usually come through in pairs starting with the bottom front followed by the top two middle and then along the sides and back.
The diagram below is a general guide to when baby teeth will appear. The timing for the appearance of teeth can vary greatly.
There is no doubt teething in an ongoing issue for parents in the early months. Parents often describe a wide and varying range of symptoms with seems to persist for several weeks.
In a recent Australian study, most (70–85%) of parents in the study believed that teething causes fever, pain, irritability, sleep disturbance, mouthing/biting, drooling and red cheeks; 35–55% reported nappy rash, ‘sooking’, ear pulling, feeding problems, runny nose, loose stools, and infections; and a few (< 15%) reported smelly urine, constipation or colic.
Symptoms were only significantly more frequent in the 4 days before a tooth appeared, the day of the it appeared, and 3 days after, so this 8-day window was defined as the teething period.
Symptoms associated with teething
The symptoms reported were increased biting, drooling, gum-rubbing, sucking, irritability, wakefulness, ear-rubbing, facial rash, decreased appetite for solid foods, and mild temperature elevation were all associated with teething.
Symptoms not associated with teething
Chest congestion, sleep disturbance, loose and frequent stools, decreased appetite for milk, cough, rashes other than facial rashes, fever over 39°C, and vomiting were not significantly associated with the appearance of a tooth.
It has been concluded that almost all parents, the majority of nurses, and many physicians believe that teething is associated with the appearance of symptoms, most of which are minor and relate to discomfort rather than physical illness and most use some form of medication to manage it.
If your one of the lucky ones your baby’s teeth will appear with no signs and symptoms!
Most parents accept that teething is an uncomfortable but a transient part of a baby’s development. However, teething is manageable if you’re happy (and it is appropriate) to give your baby pain relief which, as a nurse, I absolutely was.
In May 2019 a popular teething gel is being removed from the Australian market after incidents of infants being harmed consuming too much of the active ingredient. Teething gels that contains lidocaine are said to be harmful if swallowed. There are many other safe products available and your pharmacists will be able to advise you.
It is recommended that if a child has swollen and tender gums, you gently massage them with your finger and give the child a cool, teething ring or a clean, wet, cool washcloth to chew on. Frozen fruits are great for you little one to chew on, especially water melon.
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