Teething describes a process that is very important in child development. During the teething stage of infancy, the baby’s first set of teeth tear through the gums. Feeling the sensation of the teeth pushing through the gums is what causes gum and jaw discomfort in teething babies. This in turn can cause late night crying fits and temper tantrums throughout the day.

Pain during teething is uncomfortable, but perfectly normal. Nothing can prevent a child from the teething process, so it is just something that each parent will have to take care of when the time comes. It is difficult to say what level of pain the baby feels while teething; especially since the pain tolerance of each child is different.

Teething usually begins around the sixth month. To determine whether or not the teething process has begun, parents will need to learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of a teething baby. Symptoms may include: trouble sleeping, increased drooling, loss of appetite, a constant desire to touch the gums or place the hands in the mouth, and mild rashes around the area of the mouth during periods of increased drooling. As one can see from the examples above, most of the symptoms associated with teething stem from the pain caused by the process. Diarrhea, fever, and flu symptoms are not signs of teething and should be referred to your pediatrician for a diagnosis.

Most parents are able to treat the symptoms of teething without having to leave home. Two common methods of helping alleviate the discomfort of teething are specially designed toys for teething children to chew on, and gum massages given by parents. Since teething is a condition of the mouth, parents must take extreme caution when introducing any foreign items into the mouth of their baby. Anything used to treat the symptoms of teething should be made clean before and after each use.

While the baby is teething, soft foods are recommended. Cold foods will help bring down some of the pain and swelling in the gums, so many parents will freeze traditional snack items to help their baby overcome the discomfort.

Teething is something that just has to be waited out, but any parent who becomes concerned that their child’s teething process is lasting too long or is becoming too painful should feel free to contact their child’s pediatrician to make sure everything is normal.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Gina Rosenfeld is a San Diego Pediatrician who has been in practice for 35 years. He is also a member of Children's Physicians Medical Group.