This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
Some children cut their teeth easily; most of them, however, sutler more or less during that operation. The child becomes fretful, feverish, often screams with pain, and is frequently sleepless at night Sometimes convulsions occur. The gums swell, and frequently become red and tender. If the bowels become disordered, a little carbonate of magnesia, mixed with a little peppermint-water, or a little of the Carminative may be given two or three times a day. A warm bath, once or twice a day (not so hot as to hurt the tender skin of the child,) will be of service. As soon as the teeth are sufficiently near the surface, which may be known by the teeth showing whitish through the gum, considerable relief will be afforded to the child by lancing the gums, either with a gum lancet or a sharp penknife. As nature seems to have given the child a natural instinct for biting at things during this period, it is advisable to assist nature as far as lies in our power. It is generally supposed that biting hard substances tends to harden the gums. Ivory rings, which used formerly to be used, are therefore laid aside, and their place supplied by those of India Rubber. In lancing the gums, it is best not to lance more than one or two teeth at a time, or we may cause more bleeding than is desirable. Children will frequently make considerable opposition to the operation the first time, but instinct seems to teach the child that the relief experienced is from the lancing, and I have seldom seen much trouble the second time.
During teething children are apt to be affected with sores on different parts of the body, caused a good deal by friction, from parts of the tender skin rubbing together, and partly from constitutional irritation. It is sufficient in these cases to powder the sore places night and morning with a little hair powder, finely powdered starch or Calamine powder. It cannot be too often repeated that, during the time of suckling the child, the health of the child depends mainly upon that of the mother. If the mother lives properly, and the milk is of good quality, the child (apart from any constitutional taint,) will grow strong and healthy; if, however, the mother lives improperly, or, in any way impairs her own health, the child will necessarily suffer.