Everyone will remember the strapline from Jaws: 'Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water'. John Williams, who wrote the film score, described the dramatic theme music as being reminiscent of a shark: 'instinctual, relentless, unstoppable'. Recently, I've had that menacing tune swimming around my head. Not because of my shark phobia, but because my little boy is teething. His first tooth pushing up through his gums could also be described as 'instinctual, relentless, unstoppable'. All parents dread the first tooth. Just when you think it's safe to go back to bed at night, it erupts, throwing your routine into chaos. If you notice any of the telltale signs of drooling, rubbing of gums, fractiousness, fever and disrupted nights, you're likely to have two years of teething ahead of you. Thinking about my son's pain, I consulted my guru - my best friend in Hong Kong, Sarah, who's been through this twice before. Her answer: chamomile teething granules. It turns out you can get teething powder (try Nelsons Teetha) at Bumps to Babes and Nature's Village. I can confirm it really works, and that babies like the ritual of having it rubbed onto their gums. Teething rings - plastic toys filled with water, which you put in the fridge or freezer to cool - are another option to relieve painful, hot gums. There's also the finger-toothbrush - a silicone, toothbrush-shaped utensil not unlike a finger puppet, that you put over your finger to rub on your baby's gums. It cleans teeth and acts like a teething stick. As soon as the first tooth appears, you need to look after it. You can wipe teeth a couple of times a day with a cloth, or use your finger-toothbrush. I prefer the latter. Your child will also swallow toothpaste, so you need to use baby toothpaste, which has less fluoride. I got some Kid's Spry Tooth Gel with Xylitol. By the time they're two, they should be brushing their teeth twice a day by themselves. It's adviseable to take kids to the dentist from a young age just to get them used to the process. So it seems I am going to have to get over yet another of my phobias. Another downside of teething becomes quickly apparent if you're breastfeeding. You might discover your innocent babe is suddenly capable of a nasty nip. Stop your little shark with a firm 'No!' and removal from the breast. It's all enough to make you seriously consider a switch to formula milk. Quite seriously.