Teething is a normal process in a baby’s growth and development. There can be a wide variation in signs for teething. Some babies are not affected at all during tooth eruption.
However, teething can be a challenge for some babies (and parents!). Remember that baby’s discomfort will not last forever and soon they will be on to other new and exciting challenges.
When will my baby start teething?
There are common patterns to recognize when a baby starts teething. On average, the first tooth arrives sometime during the sixth month, although it can come as early as three months or as late as twelve months.
The diagram below shows when primary or “baby” teeth are commonly expected.
Remember that signs of teething can develop as much as two to three months before the tooth appears.
How will I know that my baby is teething?
Teething can cause minor discomfort for your baby. You might notice the following signs as teeth begin to appear through their gums. There is no need to worry; it is all part of the teething process. Your baby may:
- Be more cranky and irritable
- Have red cheeks and red, swollen gums
- Show a need to chew on things.
How can I help my baby?
- Comfort and cuddling – it is important to give baby lots of love and comforting whenever they are upset, sick or hurt
- Something to chew on – only when baby is sitting up and is supervised by an adult
- Approved teething toy – works even better if chilled
- Cold clean washcloth
- Avoid teething biscuits or cookies as they are high in sugar, and can harm the teeth
- Rub baby’s gums - with your clean finger – make sure your fingernails are short and smooth
- Offer something cold to eat – after 6 months you can offer chilled pablum or pureed foods appropriate to baby’s age
- Talk to your health care provider about pain relief
- If baby is still very uncomfortable, ask your health care provider about using acetaminophen for pain.
- Don’t use teething gels or ointments unless your health care provider agrees, as they can be harmful.
When should I call for help?
The following symptoms MAY be related to teething, but are more likely a sign that baby is ill. If your baby is experiencing any of the following make sure that you discuss them with your health care provider.
- Ear pulling; cheek rubbing – This may occur especially when the molars are coming in, but could also be a sign that baby has an ear infection.
- Continued loss of appetite – Baby may refuse more than a couple of feedings or may take very little for several days.
- Loose Bowel Movements – Some experts do not accept that loose bowel movements may be a sign of teething. Others think it might be due to the swallowing of extra saliva. Discuss any diarrhea that lasts more than two bowel movements with a health care provider.
- Fever - Some experts do not agree that a slight fever (37-38 degrees celsius) can be a sign of teething. Others think that it may be due to inflammation of the gums. Any fever over 38 degrees when taken under the arm is likely a sign of illness and should be discussed with your health care provider.
- Slight Cough – The extra saliva can cause a baby to gag or cough. This symptom would be a concern if baby has other signs of cold or flu.
For more information you can speak one-to-one with a health professional, call Your Health Connection at (705)721-7520 or 1 877-721-7520.