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Teething… the seemingly never ending saga
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Teething… the seemingly never ending saga

jaciBy Dr Jaci Schultz

Teething syndrome is a condition experienced by babies any age between birth and 2 years old. That’s a long time…

What this means is that there is a period of time whereby your baby’s teeth are starting to develop, but this can take a bit of time. You will not see any little white enamel bumps protruding through the gum surface, but your little one may experience all the symptoms of teething. Many babies will during this time experience a number of symptoms from a low grade temperature, to a red, angry nappy rash due to an increased production of acid in the body, to an increased amount of mucus and cold like symptoms.

What I found so interesting when I started my homoeopathic practice almost 15 years ago was the fact that the age when the teething process commences seems to have changed. In all the text books that I read and research that I did, it stated that teething would usually commence at around 6 months of age, but interestingly enough, many of my paediatric patients seemed to be start teething closer to 10 or even 12 months of age. I could not find a specific reason for this, but still to this day find that the age of teething in many of our littlies is closer to the age of 1 years old than 6 months old. There will ALWAYS be the exception to the rule – some babies are born with teeth and I have had kids in my practice that get their first teeth after the age of 15 months!

I frequently will attend to a baby who has been brought into my consulting room by a panicked and distraught first time Mom (you do not get caught out so easily again the second time around) who is convinced that her child is seriously ill due to the child’s distress and generally miserable disposition. After a lengthy consultation and physical examination to rule out any type of infection or pathology, very frequently a diagnosis is given to the Mom of Teething Syndrome. This diagnosis often comes as a great relief but also in disbelief as they almost cannot believe that there is not a more scary condition going on.

One of the most common side effects of teething is a referred pain to the ears due to the involvement of the maxillary nerve in the teething process – and this is what makes the little teething baby repeatedly touch their ears, and not in a self-soothing manner, and even battle to sleep at night, mimicking the otitis media symptoms.

Interestingly enough, there are many health practitioners that will deny that such a syndrome exists, even though the World Health Organization has an international diagnostic code for it to be used by the practitioners – K00.7.

The ideal approach to take if your baby is teething is to watch and wait. Amazingly some children display absolutely no symptoms or signs when they teeth and proceed to show you a set of chompers without you realising that they were even teething, while others are in so much discomfort that their Moms and Dads are convinced that there must be a serious reason for their baby’s pain and discomfort.

There are many homoeopathic remedies that significantly reduce the symptoms of teething, and following the true homoeopathic philosophy, homoeopathic practitioners get fantastic results with teething as an individualised script can be prepared, depending on exactly how the infant is presenting and responding. As always, the most important factor to distinguish is if in fact it is just teething syndrome or if there is something else creating the discomfort.

My last thought that I leave you in this short article is that I personally believe that there is a reason that babies cannot really talk before the age of two years old, as we would have a significantly larger Tourettes Syndrome population…