By Karolina Gonzalez, MAS
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Revisiting Teething! Part 1
By Karolina Gonzalez, MAS
Is your little one too fussy? Always consider the “big picture” before blaming those tiny pearly whites
As a new mom I’ve already been there! When my baby starts getting fussy and irritable in the grocery store, there appears that helpful advice from an empathetic woman: “He must be teething! Have you tried this? And what about that?” Everywhere you go and your baby starts showing any disengagement cue, together with the excessive drooling and the desire to chew on something hard, someone shares with you a popular treatment to help him soothe his tender gums, right?
Parents and caregivers attribute a wide variety of signs and symptoms in young children to teething. Excessive drooling, runny nose, diarrhea, fever, and sleep problems are just a few examples. A few days ago I even heard a mom saying she was sure her baby gets constipated when teething.
Such parental beliefs are consistent worldwide, across all education levels, and for both first-time and experienced parents (Markman L, 2009). We’ve already mentioned in previous posts though, that results from research studies indicate that no symptoms are linked consistently with tooth eruption in all children. However, those popular beliefs might lead parents to try possible solutions that will not always help and in some cases, may even pose a risk for their children’s health.
Remember that young children are exposed to a wide variety of environments, illnesses and situations that may cause episodes of congestion, diarrhea or fever; and that local symptoms may occur, but systemic (whole body) symptoms are not caused by teething. This perspective will help you avoid using the “teething diagnosis” to explain either normal baby behavior or a serious illness that should be treated right away.
My baby’s first two lower teeth appeared when he was 7 months old. And even though we noticed one of his upper teeth coming in a few weeks ago, we can’t say more teeth have appeared yet at almost 10 months. I must say, though, as first-time parents, learning everything from scratch and getting to know our baby day by day, we’ve considered teething pain as the cause for him being pretty irritable at times!
Next time, we’ll continue with this series about teething, sharing an update regarding common over-the-counter medications used to treat teething pain in infants. Stay tuned!
Markman L. Teething: facts and fiction. Pediatr Rev. 2009;30:e59-64.