Infants and toddlers have a few common habits that relate to their oral health, and one of the most frequent is the presence of teething. Babies may teethe at various times of the day, but perhaps the most inconvenient is when they are teething at night, interrupting both their sleep and yours in the process.
At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, babies and toddlers are a major part of all our pediatric dental services, from general checkups and dental X-rays to sedation dentistry, restorative care and a comprehensive range of emergency dental services. Is your child teething at night, interrupting sleep patterns for everyone involved? This two-part blog series will go over why this might be happening, plus some basic tips on how to soothe your child’s teething.
Teething Timing and Signs
In most cases, the behavior of teething will begin in babies around the age of 4-7 months. However, there are some children who may begin teething even before this.
During the day, when you’re awake and paying attention, it’s fairly easy to identify teething as it’s taking place. At night, however, how can you tell if your child’s restlessness and trouble sleeping is due to teething or some other issue? Common signs include excessive drooling, overly aggressive chewing and certain types of fussiness – on the flip side, if your child is experiencing any kind of rash besides a drool rash (more on this in a moment), something other than teething might be the issue.
Our next several sections will go over soothing methods if you’ve identified teething as the source of your child’s sleep issues.
Teething is often due to sore, irritated gums, and soothing this area is a top treatment. Offer your child a cooling gum massage with a teething ring or teething toy.
Using Your Fingers
In some cases, performing the massage with your finger – or allowing your child to gum at your fingers – will also be effective. Be sure your finger is clean, first and foremost, and consider dipping your finger in cool water first. In addition, you may consider applying gentle pressure to your baby’s gums, which might relieve their teething pain.
As we mentioned above, cooling is often beneficial for sensitive gums. All you need to do is soak a clean washcloth in cold water, then place it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes – after which you can apply it to your baby’s gums, plus allow them to gnaw at it if they like.
If your baby’s teething leads to drool, it’s important to wipe this up regularly. Babies who have a wet face all day may develop a rash, which will only add to their nighttime discomfort.