When your baby is around 4 months to 7 months old, it’s common to see signs of teething. The process of teething may cause some discomfort for your little one as she gets her first set of teeth. These baby or primary teeth, which can appear from as young as 3 months or even as old as 12 to 14 months, will start to grow and eventually have to break through the gums. This can cause swelling and soreness just before the tooth comes through.
It’s important to be able to recognize teething symptoms so you’ll know what to expect when your baby starts to show signs of those first tiny teeth.
When do babies start teething?
Teething symptoms can precede the actual appearance of a tooth by as much as two or three months. Most babies get their first tooth around 6 months old, though when those first tiny pearly whites make their appearance can vary quite a bit from baby to baby.
Some infants’ first teeth erupt as early as 3 months old, while others don’t get theirs until after the first birthday. In other words, there’s a wide range of normal in terms of when teething in babies starts.
Common signs of teething
Determining what’s wrong with a fussy baby is a tough task when parenting. If he continues to fuss even after you ensure he is healthy, fed, and changed, consider the possibility that your child’s tooth is teething.
How do you know if your baby is teething? What symptoms should you look out for? Your little one is not likely to understand why he feels so achy, wakes up with soreness in his mouth, or is bothered by an itchy chin. Here are the top teething symptoms to keep an eye out for:
More biting. Teething infants may bite on their toys or even fingers to help relieve the pressure they feel on their gums. Babies generally love to put objects in their mouths, but when teething begins, the behaviour of rubbing things against their gums can become excessive. Putting a teething toy in their mouth to rub their gum tissue is a sure sign that a tooth is coming in. Make sure to keep dangerous objects that cause choking risks away from your baby and offer him soft toys to chew on.
Loss of appetite. Babies may lose their appetite or refuse to eat and drink because their mouth hurts. If your baby is not feeding normally, it could be a sign that their gums are hurting. The action of sucking on a bottle or feeding can irritate gums that are already sore. Keep trying to feed your baby until the pain subsides. If you are worried that your baby is not getting enough to eat, see your paediatrician.
More drooling. One of the signs a baby is teething is an increase in drooling. At around 3 months of age, you may notice that your little one starts salivating a lot, to the point where his clothes get soaked and irritation develops on his cheeks and chin. This is because it is the time when their first teeth start to emerge. To keep him comfortable and free of skin irritations, wipe his chin gently and change his clothes throughout the day.
As a result of excessive drooling, some babies may get diarrhea, which can, in turn, lead to diaper rash. If you notice loose stools, make sure your baby is not dehydrated, and if you see any other symptoms like a high fever or stools containing blood or pus, then contact your doctor.
Rash around the mouth area. Excessive drooling may cause a mild rash around the baby’s mouth, chin and chest, so it’s important to keep an eye on the baby, and wipe any drool away. Take care not to wipe too often, though, as this can also irritate the skin.
More sucking. Like biting, this symptom is a result of your baby trying to relieve the pressure from a tooth that’s about to come up from the gums.
Ear pulling. This may seem like an unusual baby teething symptom, but some infants may pull on their ears to help relieve the pain due to those sore gums.
Difficulty sleeping. Due to the discomfort from the swelling and soreness, your baby may find it difficult to sleep at night or during naptime.
Irritability. Don’t be surprised if your little one is fussy or cranky when new teeth are on their way. Those sore gums that come with teething are likely to make your baby feel more than a little irritable. Keeping your teething baby distracted or comforting her with snuggling can sometimes help with the pain. Some babies go through the teething process without much hassle, but for others, it can be difficult and painful. If your baby seems to be irritable or crying often, even though he or she is healthy, it could be a sign that a tooth is about to come in.
Insomnia. If your baby used to sleep well and is waking up at night or refuses to nap during the day, it could be a symptom that a tooth is coming in. Even adults have trouble sleeping when they feel discomfort, and the same is true for your baby. The two of you may lose a few hours of rest, but rest assured that your little one will return to the old sleep pattern once the tooth has come in.
Teething fever. It’s possible that a baby who is teething may have a slightly elevated body temperature, sometimes known as teething fever. However, a true fever — a temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit — is not associated with teething, and could be the sign of an illness or infection that may require treatment. Contact your baby’s healthcare provider if your baby is clearly uncomfortable, if the fever persists or is greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or if your baby has any other symptoms of illness.
How to help relieve the symptoms?
If your baby is suffering a lot during teething, you can take some steps to help him or her. One of these is to wash your hands thoroughly and rub one of your fingers over the child’s gums for about two minutes. Many feel relieved with the massage.
Caressing and stroking can also offer relief. As the baby may become irritable and sly, it is necessary to be patient and give attention. The best remedy, however, is chewing. Objects like teething rings, rattles, and other soft toys help the baby relieve pain and itching. In extreme cases, the baby can take a painkiller, provided it is prescribed by a doctor.
How to take care of the first teeth?
As soon as the first teeth start to emerge, it is recommended to brush the teeth with fluoride toothpaste suitable for children, as it has enough fluoride to ensure healthy teeth. It is important that a soft brush is used and that light strokes are made to avoid damaging the gums. See in more detail how to brush baby teeth.
Growing teeth is not a competitive sport, and your baby’s teeth will arrive when they’re ready. Don’t be worried if they don’t show up according to schedule, because each child is different.
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MacroBaby Blog. 2021. When Do Babies Start Teething? – MacroBaby Blog. [online] Available at: <https://macrobaby.blog/en/when-do-babies-start-teething/> [Accessed 19 July 2021].
Pampers-CA-EN. 2021. When Do Babies Start Teething? | Pampers. [online] Available at: <https://www.pampers.ca/en-ca/baby/teething/article/teething-symptoms-for-babies> [Accessed 19 July 2021].
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