Most parents get alarmed when their sweet, charming baby suddenly can’t stop crying and needs to be carried around all the time. This usually happens when the toddler is about 6 months old and can be a classic symptom of teething. Teething refers to the process of eruption of a baby’s milk teeth through the gums. The time of teething varies from child to child, but it usually starts from 6 months to 12 months of age. In some children, the teething process can begin as early as three months of age. Once teething begins, the first teeth to appear are two middle teeth in the lower jaw, followed by two middle teeth in the upper jaw and finally, teeth on the sides and back. Some teeth cause more discomfort as compared to the others when they erupt. For example, molars take up more surface area and do not erupt as easily as smaller teeth, causing prolonged discomfort. In most children, all twenty milk teeth appear by the age of two to three years. Teething for most toddlers is a painful experience and is a good explanation for a baby’s changed behavior and minor illness. A homeopathic teething remedy includes medicines that ease the symptoms like irritability and swelling in teething toddlers.
Problems while Teething
In some children, the teething process is smooth, with no pain, discomfort or complaint. For some children, however, teething can be difficult and cause symptoms like:
- excessive drooling of saliva (it may cause a mild rash around the mouth)
- excessive chewing of things
- putting fingers in the mouth
- irritability, crying, fretfulness, cranky behavior, restlessness
- sleeplessness at night
- swollen, sore, red, tender gums
- formation of fluid-filled blister around the erupting tooth
- decreased intake of feed
- fever and diarrhea
Diarrhea and Teething
It is a common misconception that teething causes diarrhea. Teething does not cause diarrhea, it is in fact caused due to an infection of the gastrointestinal tract. This is because children during teething tend to chew on different objects to ease the discomfort, and can easily catch an infection from an unclean object. Teething also occurs around the time when a child is being weaned off the mother’s milk. An introduction of new food can also cause a change in the gut bacteria in the child’s system and cause diarrhea. Teething does not cause diarrhea, rather, it is the introduction of a pathogen in the child’s gut that leads to disturbed bowel movements. Children pick up bacteria from different sources as they look for things to chew on to relieve the symptoms of teething (like sore, painful gums). Mild fever during teething is normal, but high fevers are not. A very high fever or diarrhea during teething are completely unrelated to the process of the child’s teeth erupting. Frequent diarrhea during teething can cause dehydration, so care must be taken to ensure that the baby gets enough clear fluids, milk and water to stay hydrated.
Homeopathic Teething Remedy
Homeopathic medicines are a safe and effective method to manage pediatric complaints like teething. Homeopathic medicines are prepared from naturally occurring substances and are very safe to use, even on toddlers. They have no side effects and help treat the symptoms of teething very gently and effectively. Homeopathic medicines for teething are selected according to the individual symptoms shown by the child. For example, some children become cranky, irritable and stubborn while they are teething, while others may become clingy and keep weeping. Some children are particularly irritable at night. Keeping in mind the various symptoms, homeopathic medicines are selected on a case-to-case basis. The top homeopathic medicines to ease the discomfort during teething include Chamomilla, Cina, Merc Sol, Podophyllum Peltatum and Calcarea Phos.
Homeopathic Medicines for Teething
Chamomilla – The Real Tooth fairy
Chamomilla (chamomile) has probably introduced more parents to homeopathy than any other Homoeopathic medicine. Though it is not the only medicine that homeopaths prescribe to treat teething, it is so commonly used that it is generally recommended unless the infant’s symptoms clearly indicate the need for a different medicine.
The most common symptoms of infants who need Chamomilla are inflamed gums, drooling (excessive saliva oozing from the mouth), and a desire to keep fingers in the mouth. Commonly, one cheek is hot and red while the other is pale and dentition diarrhea which is often green.
The infants are hyper-irritable and may scream and hit. The only relief they experience comes when they are being carried about or gently rocked. Chamomilla 30 c given three times a day during the acute phase should work as someone has described it as “a real tooth fairy”.
Cina – For Teething to manage Irritability
Cina is a homeopathic teething remedy used to manage irritability in children who are teething. The child may also weep, scream, bite and strike others, or ask to be carried all the time. Extreme crankiness and stubbornness along with restlessness during sleep are some other symptoms that indicate the need for this medicine.
Merc Sol – For Teething with Swollen Gums
Merc Sol is a homeopathic teething remedy that is used in cases where the gums become swollen and tender, and there is excessive drooling during teething. The gums appear red, swollen and are painful to touch. Excessive drooling, while sleeping and a foul-smell from the child’s mouth is also present. This medicine is effective in soothing a teething baby at night when the child is restlessness and cranky.
Podophyllum Peltatum – For Teething with Diarrhea
Podophyllum Peltatum is a homeopathic teething remedy where the teething baby has a watery, gushing stool that is yellowish–greenish and foul-smelling. Mucus may also be present in the stool along with fetid flatus.
Does Calcarea Phos ease out teething? Should it be given during dentition?
We have raised two daughters and have never given them Calcarea Phos. Yet, both of them never had any problem during dentition. Please Note that this is the most abused medicine in Homeopathy. It’s wide use in ‘easing dentition’ is one of the biggest abuse of homeopathy.It should be used judiciously and is mainly indicated where the teething process is delayed.
Tips to Soothe a Teething Baby
Teething children tend to be irritable and clingy, and there are some home remedies for teething toddlers that can help soothe the swollen gums:
- Rubbing the baby’s gums – With a clean finger, or a slightly wet piece of gauze, gently rub the baby’s gums. Use a gentle pressure to ease discomfort.
- Use a cold compress: A cold compress in the form of a cold, wet cloth, a chilled spoon or a teething ring can help ease the swelling and soreness in teething gums.
- Chewing upon hard foods: If the teething baby is old enough to handle solid foods, a solid food item like peeled carrot or cucumber can help provide relief. The child can gnaw on the food. Care must be taken to ensure that the child does not choke on any small bits that get chewed off.