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Teething pains start almost any time after the age of 3 months and will continue for several months, or even years, depending on whether or not the eruption of the back teeth is also painful.

Common symptoms of teething include; bulging, red gums which are very tender to touch, the cheeks may be hot and red, the child will also be restless, irritable, and may be suffering from a raised body temperature. Teething pain symptoms are often accompanied by the symptoms of a mild respiratory infection i.e. catarrh and congestion. It is not know whether teething causes this or whether the conditions just frequently occur together.

Teething is unlikely in infants under three months of age.

We recommend a suitable teething gel for local application to the baby's gums. Teething gels contain a good local anaesthetic that is easy to apply and which will kill pain on contact. Giving the baby a preparation that contains paracetamol as its active ingredient can help this pain relief; paracetamol will also reduce a raised body temperature.

Other preparations are available which contain paracetamol and an antihistamine and may be used when pain is particularly bad. The antihistamine makes the child drowsy and so it is best when used at night. These preparations should not be used long-term as they may be habit forming. They are particularly suitable if there is a respiratory problem with the teething pain (especially a cough), as it will ease the breathing symptoms also.

Practical Points:
- A good safe teething ring will help a baby's teeth grow strong and will also help ease the pain on cooling and chewing.
- If your child will not take medicine off a spoon due to the pain of teething you can use a dosing syringe, just ask at your local chemist.

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