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Understanding Teething Symptoms

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baby crying while lying in their crib

One of the stages of baby development is teething. Symptoms can vary depending on each child, some may have quite a few signs of teething, while others may not have any. If your child is showing a few teething symptoms, like crying and general discomfort, look for these other signs of teething.

Common Teething Symptoms

  • Swollen, red, sore gums
  • Irritability and general crankiness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Red, flushed cheeks
  • Difficulty sleeping and restless nights
  • Refusing to eat or a poor appetite
  • An increased interest in breastfeeding
  • Constantly chewing on hard objects, teethers and fingers
  • An elevated temperature
  • Rubbing the cheek on the side where the tooth is breaking through

You may also notice that your baby develops a red rash on his chin -- this is caused by all the drool pouring out of his mouth.

Help your baby deal with his teething symptoms by giving him hard objects to chew on, such as a frozen teether or even a clean, wet washcloth that's been placed in the freezer. Your baby will probably want to bite anything that he can get his hands on -- this isn't a sign of aggression or a sign that your baby has a temper, it's just an instinctive way for your baby to feel better.

Some babies may want to nurse more than normal because nursing is comforting when they're in pain. However, some have a decreased appetite because the sucking motion can cause an increase in blood flow to the already sore and swollen gums and cause more pain. So if your baby is eating more or less than normal, it could be one of the signs of teething.

What Causes Teething Symptoms?

Although most people think that the teeth cut through the gums, some dentists have found that chemicals in the body actually dissolve some of the cells in the gums, which allows teeth to come through with less pain.

However, that doesn't mean the process is painless. Gums can become swollen and sore due to the pressure of the tooth that's trying to push through. This pressure can also make cheeks appear flushed and make the cheeks and jaws ache.

When Should You Worry About the Signs of Teething?

Many parents report that their kids experience diaper rash and diarrhea when teething. However, it's thought that a stomach bug instead of teething causes this. If your baby is experiencing what seem to be unusual signs of teething, like a rash all over his body or a fever, talk to your doctor. This can be caused by an unrelated viral or bacterial infection instead of teething.

A Mom Says…

“My son has one tooth already and I think he's getting his second one now. He's been cranky all day and doesn't want to sleep at night unless he's nursing. We're both exhausted and I hope this tooth pops through soon so we can both get some rest!”

 
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