Teething is a significant milestone in a baby’s development, but it can also be a challenging time for both infants and their parents. As the first teeth begin to emerge, babies may experience discomfort and exhibit symptoms such as drooling, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. With so much information available, it can be difficult for parents to separate fact from fiction when it comes to caring for their baby’s oral health during this time. In this article, we will explore some common myths and facts about infant oral care during teething, providing valuable research-based insights to help parents navigate this important stage in their child’s life.
Myth: Teething causes fever
One of the most prevalent myths surrounding teething is that it can cause a fever in infants. However, research has shown that teething itself does not lead to an increase in body temperature. While it is true that some babies may experience a slightly elevated temperature during teething, this is usually due to other factors such as a viral infection coinciding with the teething process.
It is important for parents to monitor their baby’s temperature and consult a healthcare professional if it exceeds 100.4°F (38°C). This is because fever can be a sign of an underlying illness that may require medical attention. However, it is crucial to understand that teething alone does not cause fever.
Fact: Teething can cause discomfort
While teething may not cause fever, it can certainly cause discomfort for babies. As the teeth push through the gums, infants may experience soreness and tenderness in the affected area. This discomfort can lead to irritability, fussiness, and difficulty sleeping.
Parents can help alleviate their baby’s discomfort by providing gentle pressure on the gums. This can be done by using a clean finger or a teething ring specifically designed for infants. Chilled teething rings can provide additional relief by numbing the gums and reducing inflammation.
It is important to note that every baby is different, and some may experience more discomfort during teething than others. If a baby’s discomfort seems excessive or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.
Myth: Teething causes diarrhea
Another common myth is that teething can cause diarrhea in infants. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. While some babies may experience changes in their bowel movements during teething, these changes are typically temporary and not directly caused by teething itself.
It is important for parents to monitor their baby’s bowel movements and consult a healthcare professional if there are persistent changes such as diarrhea, blood in the stool, or signs of dehydration. These symptoms may indicate an underlying condition that requires medical attention.
Fact: Teething can lead to excessive drooling
Excessive drooling is a common symptom of teething in infants. As the teeth begin to emerge, babies may produce more saliva than usual, leading to drooling. This can sometimes cause skin irritation around the mouth and chin.
To manage excessive drooling, parents can use bibs or cloth to keep the baby’s chin dry and prevent skin irritation. It is also important to regularly clean the baby’s face and chin to maintain good hygiene.
While excessive drooling is a normal part of the teething process, it is essential to distinguish it from other conditions that may cause excessive drooling, such as an oral infection or a developmental issue. If parents have concerns about their baby’s drooling, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation.
Myth: Teething causes sleep disturbances
Many parents believe that teething can disrupt their baby’s sleep patterns. While it is true that teething can cause discomfort and irritability, there is limited scientific evidence to support the claim that it directly leads to sleep disturbances.
It is important for parents to establish a consistent bedtime routine and create a sleep-friendly environment for their baby. This includes ensuring a comfortable sleep surface, maintaining a cool and quiet room, and providing soothing activities before bedtime.
If a baby is experiencing significant sleep disturbances during teething, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional to rule out other potential causes and explore strategies to improve sleep.
Fact: Good oral hygiene is important during teething
While the primary focus during teething is to alleviate discomfort, it is also crucial to maintain good oral hygiene. As the teeth emerge, they are susceptible to tooth decay and other oral health issues.
Parents can start practicing good oral hygiene habits even before the first tooth appears. Gently wiping the baby’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after feedings can help remove bacteria and prevent the buildup of plaque.
Once the first tooth emerges, parents should begin brushing it with a soft-bristled toothbrush specifically designed for infants. It is recommended to use a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for children under three years old. As more teeth erupt, parents should gradually increase the amount of toothpaste to a pea-sized portion.
In addition to regular brushing, parents should also limit the baby’s exposure to sugary foods and drinks, as they can contribute to tooth decay. It is important to establish a dental care routine and schedule regular visits to a pediatric dentist to ensure the baby’s oral health is properly monitored.
Teething is a natural process that all infants go through, but it can be accompanied by various myths and misconceptions. By separating fact from fiction, parents can make informed decisions about their baby’s oral care during this important stage of development.
- Teething does not cause fever, but it can cause discomfort.
- Teething does not cause diarrhea, but changes in bowel movements may occur temporarily.
- Excessive drooling is a common symptom of teething, but it is important to distinguish it from other conditions.
- Teething may not directly cause sleep disturbances, but it can contribute to discomfort and irritability.
- Good oral hygiene is important during teething to prevent tooth decay and other oral health issues.
By understanding the facts and debunking the myths surrounding teething, parents can provide the necessary care and support to their baby during this milestone. Remember, every baby is unique, and if parents have concerns or questions about their baby’s teething process, it is always best to consult a healthcare professional for guidance.