By Dr Suzy McCleary, TCM
So your perfectly happy content baby is now a bundle of misery. They are trying to chew on everything in sight. Even the pet dog is not safe. It’s teething time. A teething baby can mean sleepless nights, irritability, crying, poor appetite, swollen gums and constant drool. It can be a distressing time not only for your baby but for the whole family. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some simple tips to relieve the discomfort of teething and what you can do to reduce future pain and fever naturally using the ancient wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
What is teething?
Teething is a normal physiological process and a required part of growth and development. Yes, we need those chompers. The first teeth, usually appear around 6 months and teething is usually completed around 2 1/2 years of age. Although many babies just cruise through teething without any fuss, for some babies it can be an extremely uncomfortable time, including pain and fever. According to traditional Chinese Medicine the symptoms that are often associated with teething are as a result of an imbalance in the body, namely the digestive system.
Why is teething so troublesome?
Many babies start teething around the time that foods are introduced to their diet. However children are born with an inherently weak digestive system, which is easily overwhelmed. This may occur as a result of over feeding, or feeding your baby or toddler processed foods high in refined flour and sugar.
If the baby’s digestive system is overwhelmed it has difficulty keeping pace with detoxification and elimination. Babies and toddlers can easily develop what is know as food stagnation. Food can sit undigested in the stomach or the intestines. This produces additional heat.
How does my child’s diet relate to teething pain and fever?
According to traditional Chinese Medicine the internal organs of the body are connected to the outside of the body by channels or pathways known as meridians. Like an invisible wire that carries energy. It is along these meridians that signs and symptoms of imbalances in the body can be seen. For example, the stomach meridian passes through the stomach and along the lower jaw and the large intestine passes through the intestines and along the upper jaw. During teething we often see red and inflamed gums. This is caused by the teeth pushing through the gum. However, if there is food stagnation in the stomach producing additional heat, this heat travels along the meridian towards the gums. The combination of the two factors can cause teething to be more painful and a fever may occur.