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Teething Time Answers

Nothing says baby like a toothless grin  -- except maybe a smile with a single pearly white. Answers to two of moms' biggest teething questions:

Other than actually seeing a tooth poke through, how do I know if my baby is teething? If he's drooling much more than usual or waking up more frequently at night, a tooth might be right around the corner. Also, babies often seem to have runny noses, loose stools, and diaper rash when they're teething, says Jeanne Clifford, M.D., a pediatrician in Medford, MA. But don't automatically chalk those kinds of symptoms up to teething: If your baby seems sick, call your doctor.

What's the best way to soothe the pain? Try giving him a wet, frozen washcloth to chew on (leave one end dry so he can grab it). The thick fabric feels good on little chompers, and the icy cold numbs sore gums. Infant acet-aminophen and ibuprofen (for babies over 6 months) are good for temporary pain relief, as are topical oral anesthetics such as Anbesol and Orajel  -- but don't exceed the dosage on the directions. Skip brandy and other alcohol, which is dangerous for babies. Expect the ache to come and go for up to a week. That is, until the next tooth starts coming in.

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