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Babies start teething around the age of six months, although there might be a variation of a couple of months on either side. The entire deciduous dentition (milk teeth) will have finished erupting at around the age of three years. A lot of parents find that their babies start becoming a little irritable during this process, while some parents never even realize that their babies were teething! 

It is not that one is doing something wrong and the other something right, it’s just that some babies will be a little more sensitive to the teething process than others.

Some of the symptoms that you might notice as your baby teethes are the appearance of rashes, irritability, reluctance to eat or drink something and an upset stomach. There is some controversy as to whether an upset stomach is directly related to the eruption of teeth or not, with most studies finding there to be no connection whatsoever — but anecdotal evidence suggests the opposite. One explanation for this might be the propensity of babies to put a variety of things in their mouth to help relieve the pressure on their gums, which makes them more likely to develop bacterial and viral infections.

Rashes are attributed to the fact that an increased amount of drooling occurs during this period. Some parents notice a small bump or swelling on the gums and get quite alarmed, however it is most often just the tooth that is underlying. None of this actually requires too much treatment. All that is needed is just a bit of symptomatic relief. Use a teething toy or a cold clean washcloth as something that the child can chew on to find some relief. You can also massage the area of the gums where the teeth are erupting to provide some relief. Just ensure that your fingers are absolutely clean.

If the baby continues to cry or is unable to sleep then an appropriate dose of over the counter pain medication can be given. 

This should be given only after consultation with the doctor since a higher dose or the wrong kind of pain medication can be very harmful to the baby. Your dentist can also advise the use of a teething gel that will help numb the pain. Care has to be taken to not apply too much of the gel since there is a risk that the child will swallow the gel. In rare cases this could cause the throat to go numb and affect the breathing of the baby.

All of these symptoms only persist till the time the tooth breaks the surface of the gums. Once that is achieved, all of the symptoms should subside on their own. The child will continue to try and explore objects that they can bite into so the use of a teething toy can be continued. Hard and unsweetened biscuits are also quite helpful in providing some relief to the child during and immediately after tooth eruption.

The process of teething should also become easier as the child grows older and is able to express their discomfort better, thus enabling better symptomatic treatment. 

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