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Dhaka Tribune

How to ease teething

Update : 16 May 2014, 07:11 PM

Question: My son is having a terrible time with teething. How can I help him?

Moushumi, Gulshan, Dhaka.

Answer: When a baby cuts a new tooth, both baby and parents suffer. Pharmacies have plenty of infant-strength painkillers and teething gels. However, these time-honoured natural remedies are also very effective and definitely worth a try. Gentle pressure with something cool is often the best way to relieve the pain of teething. You could simply rub your toddler’s gums gently with your clean finger. But be careful, as he may object to this and inform you with a painful bite. 

Few steps that can be taken during teething:

Give your toddler something to chew on: a peeled, raw carrot, banana straight from the fridge, or a frozen stick of cucumber or bagel, or a piece of bread or a banana, may help. Stay with him when he is eating it, however, to make sure he does not choke on any pieces he bites off.

A cool spoon, or a partly-frozen wet, clean flannel to chew on offer interesting textures to distract him from his discomfort. A cool, but not frozen teething ring or dummy is ideal. Give your baby a chilled water-filled plastic teething ring and let him chew on it.

An old remedy for teething is to soak a clean flannel in chilled witch hazel and rub this gently on baby’s gums. Witch hazel has styptic and astringent effects, meaning it helps to reduce inflammation and numb the gums.

Massage your baby’s gums with a clean finger for a few minutes. The pressure is comforting. You could also try cleaning the gums very softly. This helps to control bacteria in the mouth, which reduces teething irritation as well.

Teething gels for toddlers usually contain a local anaesthetic and a mild antiseptic, which work together to ease the pain and prevent infection. A little rubbed on the sore gum with a clean finger has a brief numbing effect, but it fades quickly. The gel quickly wears off and is easily washed away by your toddler’s saliva or tongue. 

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