Everyone has sore gums multiple times in their life, and it all starts at around 6 months old. At this time, children will begin teething which is the eruption, or breaking through, of teeth through the gums. Teething lasts until you’re about 2 years old, and it’s not a comfortable time for anyone.
There are lots of symptoms for teething like:
- Red and swollen gums
- Decreased appetite
Teething is painful, especially later in the year and a half time frame because that’s when the molars erupt. Their larger surface area doesn’t let them practically slice through the gums like the front teeth can. Because of the pain, your child will want to chew on anything to relieve their pain, including you, so be careful.
The major symptom of teething is having sore gums, so here are some ways to soothe the soreness:
Use a clean finger or a wet cloth to gently massage or rub your child’s gums. The pressure can ease your child’s pain for a while. Your physical touch could also help ease their pain because of the nurturing nature.
Like putting an ice pack on a swollen ankle, the cold can numb your child’s sore gums. The most common thing to do is to let your child suck on an ice cube, but they can also suck on a cold washcloth or a cool spoon. Make sure not to coat anything that your child will suck on in sugary substances because then your child might develop cavities. And no one wants your child to get a cavity while they’re already in pain from teething. The other thing to pay attention to is how cold it is. Make sure whatever you use is chilled, not frozen, because if something is too frozen, it could ruin your child’s gums.
Try one made of firm rubber. Liquid filled ones may break under the constant pressure of your child’s chewing. Putting the teething ring in the fridge for a few minutes before giving it to your child could also help ease the pain.
Over the counter remedies
You can give your child children’s Tylenol, ibuprofen, or Advil, but make sure to be careful with the dosage you’re giving your child. If you don’t know how much you should give them, talk to their doctor before you do anything.
If your child is eating solid foods, try offering something they can gnaw on, like a carrot or an apple slice. Be careful to make sure they don’t choke on a smaller piece that might break off though.
DO NOT give your child anything containing benzocaine or lidocaine. These can be fatal to your child. Also be careful what you let your child suck on because they could swallow and/or choke on the object.
Sore gums can usually be dealt with at home, but if the pain persists or worsens over time, contact your child’s doctor. Extreme pain could mean something else is going on. Once the tooth erupts, though, the symptoms of teething, along with the sore gums, should decrease.