Teething symptoms and ways to manage it

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when-teeth-come-in-articleWhen Karen Kimani’s seven month baby started teething, she thought that he was suffering from a deadly disease, so she quickly rushed him to the hospital only to find out that her baby was just starting to grow up.

“He was vomiting yet he was not eating, he had a fever and was crying all the time,” she said. “The irony is, as much as he was not eating, he could not stop chewing on his toys.”

The reason for this she later found out, was because the baby’s gums were itching so he was introducing small and soft things in his mouth he could chew on in order to ease the itch.

“The symptoms that new parents should take note of to know when their baby is teething are; frequent crying and crankiness, a slight fever, reddened cheeks and drooling, appetite loss and upset stomach, increased frequency of loose stool, sucking or gnawing on toys,” said Dr, Vincent Odhaimabo of the Astradental Services Nairobi, “some even pull the ear on the same side as the erupting tooth because of the discomfort.”

Teething usually occurs at the when a baby is six months to 24 months.There are pharmacological and non-pharmacological ways of managing teething pain.

“Non-pharmacological ways include letting the baby chew on different things such as chilled teething rings, cold wet towels, chilled fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots and apples,” said Dr. Odhiambo. “The parent can also massage the gingival using firm finger pressure.”

The cold temperature and pressure helps reduce the inflammation of the gums, giving the baby relief and they might even stop on things.

Pharmacological ways of managing teething pain include giving the baby prescribed doses of; analgesics, paracetamol, ibuprofen, choline salicylates , lignocaine or benzocaine

The teething pain usually lasts a few hours a day and can occur a few days a week and in most cases ends when the tooth erupts.

On whether teething causes any sickness such as diarrhea, Dr Odhiambo said; “There is actually a medical debate as to whether teething does indeed cause diarrhea, there is no consensus on the same.

“The American Dental Association however said that diarrhea, rashes and a fever are not normal for a teething baby, if your infant has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your physician.”

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