Actual and factual
While teething is a relatively straightforward affair, there is some sound advice surrounding the topic—and which may, in fact, even help in getting past the bumpiest stretches without adding to the pain.
Don’t over-depend on pain relief gel. Anaesthetic gels can numb the back of your baby’s throat to the extent it weakens his gag reflex, which is a vital instinct that stops him from choking on his own saliva. Since 2009, the Commission on Human Medicines has also recommended that topical oral pain-relief products that contain salicylate salts, such as choline salicylate or acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin), should not be given to children younger than 16 as they may cause a severe allergic reaction.
Don’t massage baby’s gums with alcohol. Contrary to some old wives’ tales which claim that this “trick” supposedly works for teething relief, any amount of alcohol (even a tiny drop) is simply not meant for individuals as young as infants.
Minimise use of fluoride. International researchers have in recent years concurred that fluoride is toxic in excess and may even damage a child’s developing brain cells, leading to lower IQ levels. Because babies are likely to swallow toothpaste instead of spitting it out, most public health advocators recommend using a non-fluoridated toothpaste for babies under the age of two or to use an amount no bigger than a grain of rice.
Create good dental practice from the start. As soon as your baby’s first tooth appears, buy a suitable toothbrush to gently brush it using an up-down movement. Avoid offering your baby too many sweet, sticky foods and don’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle to prevent tooth decay. It is also a good habit to clean baby’s teeth and gums gently with a warm and wet washcloth after each feeding.
Notes on teething rings. Refrain from attaching the teething ring around baby’s neck with a carabiner and chain as this could pose a strangulation risk. Liquid-filled teething rings are not the best choice as these could break and leak. If you do use this type of teething ring however, pop it into the freezer for fast cooling. Remove it before the liquid inside solidifies, making the ring become too hard when it comes into contact with your baby’s gums.
Additionally, you can engage your baby with entertaining activities to while away the time and attempt to distract him from the pain of teething. Parents, bear in mind that teething is a phase that won’t last forever, and it comes with a result that will be worth it in the end—a wonderful pearly smile for your baby!