Understanding Teething – a bitter sweet experience
Teething is referred to as the natural process of emergence of deciduous teeth (also known as milk teeth) from the gums of an infant. The process normally begins few weeks after the baby is born, typically between the 16th and 20th month.
Teething is harmless in the sense that it is quite natural and babies’ body grows and goes through various changes in the early years but it can very well be quite discomforting for the infant.
Though infants are quite resilient and forgets the pain and discomfort very soon, the side effects associated with teething can pose some untoward challenges for the parents, especially the first timers.
Here I would list out some of the side effects associated with teething and when to expect them, so parents can be better aware of their infant’s development.
Some of the most alarming signs of teething is those which are directly visible. A cyst like formation or a bulging formation in and around the gums are the most common forms of visible anomalies.
Though anomaly is not a complete correct representation of the side effect as it is evident that before a tooth can appear, the gums may swell indicating that a tooth is on its way.
The front teeth are the first teeth to appear followed by a back and front, up and down alternating pattern. Parents can gently use their fingers to check for the bulges and cyst like formation in the gum, if they feel a harden structure, that is definitely a tooth.
Drooling is a common feature among infants as they still learn to use their neck and food pipe muscles and tongue in order to swallow spit.
Since the period of teething is at an early stage, the infant is sometimes found yet to understand the idea of swallowing and hence the teething process further adds to an aggravation of drooling in the infant.
Parents need to aware of these changes and not get alarmed if they find their infant drooling more than usual. These are parts of the phase of teething and once the infant learns to use their tongue muscle, will eventually stop drooling altogether.
Another side effect but not a very common one is an onset of stomach upset. These can be associated to a lack of chewing or indigestion which can occur on some cases. These side effects require a special attention to the food of the infant.
Fever, Cough and Rash
Other common side effects to teething includes a mild fever in some case, instance of cough due to the presence of moisture from drooling and rash in the face. Cough and rash can be directly associated with excessive drooling as the moisture may induce such side effects.
Fever is often noted as a measure by the immune system of the body while the body undergoes the often painful process of teething by erupting from the gums.