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toddler-teethingTeething begins around 4 months and lasts for about 2 years. So, what is a parent to do? The best answer is to offer firm toys or teethers that are cool. Beware of frozen toys that can cause an ice burn or liquid teethers with unknown gels that can pop.

Other remedies are fraught with side effects. Alarmingly, the FDA recently warned parents against homeopathic gels and tablets because babies have experienced seizures, difficulty breathing and lethargy. The F.D.A. warned parents to stop using the products made by CVS, Hyland’s and other companies. Some of the products contain belladonna, a cardiac toxin. Because homeopathic remedies aren’t regulated, there is no way to know for sure the amount of each ingredient or if the product contains what the label says it does. The F.D.A can’t remove these products so they can only make a recommendation.

Tylenol and Motrin are often reached for in order to treat teething pain. . Developmental stages like separation anxiety look like teething.   If we medicate for each tooth (or accidentally for separation anxiety), your baby would be on a pain reliever constantly. Overmedicating with Tylenol or Motrin is bad for your baby’s liver or kidneys. The one exception is 1 or 2 doses of a pain reliever when an erupting tooth is causing a bruised gum.

Lastly, topical numbing medicines like Oragel aren’t a good idea. Many people are or may become allergic to the numbing product that makes it potentially beneficial. In addition, the drool of your baby is likely to wash it away.

At the end of the day, babies teeth and unless there is a bruise, it is best to let Mother Nature take her course naturally.

Article written by Dr. Laurie Berger

Dr. Laurie Berger graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and completed her residency at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. She is board certified and has been a partner with West Plano Pediatrics since 1998. Dr. Berger has received many awards including “Best Pediatrician” by the Plano Star Courier, Mom Approved doctor by the readers of Dallas Child magazine and D Magazines best pediatrician. She regularly is interviewed on the nightly news. In addition, she teaches resident doctors in two departments; Family and Community Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr. Berger is on the Board of The Family Place which is an organization dedicated to ending family violence. In 2013, she established a medical clinic on the safe campus of The Family Place and continues as the medical director.