It’s not hard to tell when your baby starts teething. He or she may irritable during the day and sleepless at night. (And you might be too!) Here’s what to expect and how to keep your baby comfortable.
When Does Teething Start?
Your baby was born with all 20 primary teeth below their gumline. They typically start to come through between 6 and 12 months. Children usually have their full set of baby teeth in place by age 3.
What’s not normal?
If your baby has any of these symptoms while teething and continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your pediatrician.
How to Soothe a Teething Baby
Are Numbing Gels or Teething Tablets Safe For My Baby?
The Food and Drug Administration recommends that parents and caregivers not use benzocaine products for children younger than 2, except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional. Benzocaine is an over-the-counter anesthetic, which the FDA notes are usually under the product names Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase. Benzocaine has been associated with a rare but serious—and sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced.
The FDA also urges parents not to use – and dispose of homeopathic teething tablets – after lab testing found “inconsistent amounts of belladonna, a toxic substance, in certain homeopathic teething tablets, sometimes far exceeding the amount claimed on the label.”
“The body’s response to belladonna in children under two years of age is unpredictable and puts them at unnecessary risk,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
The FDA says it tested tablets marketed by CVS and Hyland’s Inc. While CVS has agreed to a voluntary recall of its products, the manufacturer of Hyland’s homeopathic teething products had not, according to the FDA. Hyland’s discontinued distribution of its teething medicines in the United States following a September 2016 statement from the FDA.
Homeopathic teething products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety or effectiveness, and the agency says it is unaware of any proven health benefit of the products.
"Consumers should seek medical care immediately if their child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething tablets or gels," the FDA states.
If you have any questions about how to relieve your child’s teething symptoms, talk to your dentist or pediatrician.