Teething:  Most babies cut their first tooth at around six months of age. There is considerable variation. Teething is a normal event in a child’s life. It does not cause illness in children. Drooling and chewing are also normal around 4-6 months of age and these may be in part due to the discomfort of teething. In general, it is not recommended that you put salve or lotion on the baby’s gum for teething symptoms. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be given for mild teething symptoms (see Dosing Guide). Any severe symptom such as fever, prolonged vomiting and irritability should never be assumed to be due to teething, but rather treat it as you would any illness in your baby. A cold pacifier, teething ring or wash cloth can be helpful for teething discomfort. Massaging the gums with your finger may also help.

Mouth Trauma: Young children are prone to take falls and often injure their mouths in the process. Bleeding after such a fall can be due to a tear of the frenulum which is a small growth of skin between the lip and gum. Applying pressure to the gum will stop the bleeding in a few minutes and no other treatment is needed. A cut on the lip is generally not serious unless it crosses the border between the lip and the regular skin of the face. If this should happen, repair may be needed for good cosmetic results. A large cut on the lip with a wound margin that gapes open more than 1/8th of an inch also needs our attention. If teeth are loosened or knocked out, consult your dentist. If a tooth is knocked out, you should put the tooth in a clean container of cold milk or water and then bring it to your dentist. Some teeth can be replaced.

Dental Health: Most dentists recommend that children be seen for their first dental visit at the age of two to three years. To prevent cavities we recommend that children brush their teeth often, refrain from eating excessive amounts of sweet foods, avoid milk right before bedtime and drink water that is fluorinated. In Pulaski County, water supplies are adequately fluorinated. Should you have question regarding this contact your local water official.

Reviewed by Dr. Byrum on 3/22/2017