Witnessing other babies flaunting their pearly whites before your own little one can spark concern for parents. However, late teething is a common variation within the spectrum of infant development and is generally nothing to worry about. Babies, like adults, have their own timelines for milestones, and some may simply take longer to show their first teeth.
During the anticipation of that first toothy grin, parents can take comfort in the fact that late teething offers its own set of advantages. While teething can be a source of discomfort for babies, there are numerous safe and effective home remedies that parents can employ to alleviate their late teether’s distress.
From soothing gum massages to specialized teething toys, this guide explores practical strategies to ease the journey of late teething, providing both comfort for the baby and peace of mind for concerned parents.
Understanding Late Teething
First, what constitutes “late” when it comes to teething?
- The American Dental Association says first teeth tend to come in between 6-12 months of age.
- Many pediatricians say teething up to 6 months later than the norm is still considered normal.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics says to consult a doctor only if still no teeth by 18-24 months old.
So while babies normally teethe between 6 and 12 months, later timing is common and not inherently problematic. Stay attentive to other developmental milestones and discuss concerns with your pediatrician. Meanwhile, try these home remedies to ease symptoms.
Home remedies for late teething
1. Cold Relief
Applying something cold to the gums is an easy, effective home remedy for late teething discomfort. The cold helps numb and soothe inflamed gums as teeth push through.
- Give your baby a chilled teether toy from the fridge to gnaw on. Look for textured surfaces to massage gums.
- Offer small frozen fruit like banana or melon chunks in a mesh feeder. The cooling sensation eases soreness.
- Wrap ice in a wet washcloth or cotton bandana. Apply to swollen areas for temporary numbness.
- Rub gums gently with a clean chilled spoon. The cold metal provides targeted relief.
- Fill a rubber oral syringe with cool water and squirt over tender gums.
The cold constricts blood vessels in the gums to reduce swelling and pain. Just ensure objects are cool but not freezing to avoid injury.
Gently massaging irritated gums can increase blood flow to help tissue heal from teeth erupting underneath.
- Use clean fingers to rub swollen gum areas in a circular motion. Apply light pressure only.
- A soft brush with rounded tips can massage gums without causing harm if brushed gently.
- Cooling gel that contains benzocaine can be dabbed on the gums and massaged in using a soft cloth or cotton ball.
- Vibrating teether toys provide a soothing oscillating pressure against the gums.
Take care not to rub too firmly on delicate gum tissue. Discontinue any massage that seems to increase baby’s distress.
3. Oral Gel
Over-the-counter oral gels and pastes containing benzocaine can temporarily relieve teething pain when applied to the gums. These are FDA approved but only recommended for short term use in babies over 2 months old. Follow dosage instructions carefully and always consult your pediatrician first.
4. Herbal Remedies
Naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory herbs may ease teething swelling and discomfort.
- Chamomile, fennel, basil, and licorice tea bags can be cooled and gently pressed against sore gums.
- Mix powdered cloves, green tea, and lavender to make a mild numbing paste. Rub on with cotton swab.
- Apply diluted clove, myrrh, or thyme essential oils mixed with a carrier oil. Use only food-grade organic oils.
- Sprinkle cumin or fennel seeds into baby’s bottle or mesh feeder. Their antispasmodic properties may help.
Always ensure dosing and quality when using herbs for babies. Stop if any reactions occur.
5. Pain Medication
For significant pain, over-the-counter baby-formulated acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be given per your pediatrician’s recommendation. Proper dosing for your baby’s age and weight is crucial. These medications ease discomfort while numbing gums so teeth can break through. Use the minimum effective dose. Seek medical guidance to avoid complications.
When to Visit the Dentist
If your baby is over 12 months old with no signs of teeth emerging or other dental concerns arise, see your pediatric dentist. The ADA recommends a child’s first dental visit by age 1. Dentists can properly assess potential eruption issues. Ongoing monitoring ensures your late teether stays on a healthy developmental track.
While frustrating, try to be patient while waiting for teeth to appear. Rely on your pediatrician’s guidance. Use home remedies judiciously to soothe gums as needed. Remember that babies follow their own biological clock, so give yours time to teethe at their own pace.