soothe pain of teethingEven though your baby is developing normally, teething pain can be difficult for both your child and you. Tender gums cause crying and irritability, and the drooling that is associated with teething can cause skin irritation. To ease your child's discomfort, the Mayo Clinic suggests the following:

• Using your finger or a moist gauze pad, rub the gums, applying slight pressure. Generally the two front bottom and top teeth, the incisors, are the first to appear.

• Provide a chilled (but not frozen) firm teething ring or cool damp washcloth. Liquid-filled teething rings can be punctured as teeth come in. If your baby finds comfort in a bottle at night, fill it with water rather than juices or milk that can cause tooth decay.

• For older children already on solid foods, chilled veggies such as carrots or cucumbers are healthy treats that can be chewed to ease the pain.

• Keep drool from around baby's mouth or chin by frequently wiping with a dry cloth, so that a rash doesn't develop.

• If the pain seems to persist, your pediatrician might suggest an over the counter children's pain reliever for temporary relief.

Once those beautiful teeth pop through, you'll want to protect them by starting good brushing habits. Clean the teeth with a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush. Don't use toothpaste until your child is able to spit and even then, use only a tiny amount on the brush. Your pediatrician should monitor the teeth and gums and refer you to a dentist when the time is right.

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