Between four and seven months of age, you might notice your little one’s first teeth begin to break through their gums. Babies start teething at all different ages, ranging from just three months old all the way up to one year, and anywhere in between! As your baby starts showing signs and symptoms of teething, you might wonder how soon his first tooth will break through.
Some common signs and symptoms of teething include:
Some parents mistake these signs for teething:
A fever. A true fever (100.4 degrees or higher) is not a sign of teething. While your baby may experience a slight increase in body temperature during teething, a fever is a sign of illness and you might need to consult your child’s pediatrician.
Chewing/biting hands. This is a common misconception – most babies tend to begin gnawing on their hands around three to four months of age. This is normal developmental behavior, not a sign of gum pain.
Excess drool. A baby’s salivary glands mature around two to four months of age, so even though your little one might become a bucket of drool, that doesn’t necessarily mean teeth are on the way.
Diarrhea. More frequent stools or even loose stools are often associated with teething babies, but this doesn’t seem to be an indicator that a tooth is coming soon.
Teething babies can have a wide range of symptoms.
Red, swollen gums are one of the first clues that your baby’s teeth are coming soon. One of the most common baby teething symptoms is inflammation of the gums. In addition, your baby might increase her biting or sucking behaviors. You might find your baby chewing on her hands, toys, or even the nipple during feedings. Teething babies tend to be incredibly fussy and irritable right before a tooth breaks through the gums, so if your baby is whiny and clingy all of a sudden, check her gums.
You might also notice changes to your baby’s eating and sleeping habits. Many babies go from eating peacefully and on a schedule, to being extra fussy and fidgety at the breast or bottle. Your little one might also clamp down on your nipple (or a bottle) during a feeding session – which can be quite the unpleasant surprise to an unsuspecting mom! If your little one has been sleeping through the night for months, he might suddenly begin waking frequently at night, crying and upset.
Babies feel teething pain in different parts of the face. Some babies feel pain directly in the area where the tooth is about to break through, but others feel the pain radiating through their entire jawline. This is why you might observe your baby tugging and pulling at his ears. If there’s no fever or redness in the ear, it’s probably due to teething and not an ear infection.
Your baby might also exhibit signs and symptoms that are characteristic of an illness, even though he’s not sick. When a baby is teething, he might feel warm to the touch. He might also develop a rash around bis mouth and on his neck due to the increased saliva production.
Which teeth break through first?
Most babies get their bottom two front teeth (the lower central incisors) first, but this varies among children. Just like each baby is on his own timeline when it comes to teething, the order that each tooth breaks through can also be different between babies!
If you are concerned about your baby’s teeth (or lack thereof), pediatric dentists are a great resource. A pediatric dentist can assess your child’s teeth and offer advice on how to help your child through the teething process.
You’ll want to make an appointment with a pediatric dentist as soon as your child’s first tooth breaks through, or around your child’s first birthday if he still doesn’t have any teeth.
What should I do if I notice my baby’s teeth are coming in?
When you notice that your baby’s gums are red and swollen, and start to see little white dots appearing just below the gums, your little one will be getting a tooth soon! Although this varies among infants, baby teeth tend to come in pairs, so you might notice your little one getting multiple teeth at one time! This can cause a lot of pain for your little one – but don’t worry, there are many options for pain relief to soothe aching gums!
Your baby can use teething toys.
There are so many great options for teething toys these days, many of which you can easily purchase online! Some teething toys are shaped like food items, others are shaped like animals, and others come in shapes such as circles and triangles. These toys can be made of wood or silicone, both of which are soothing for a baby to gnaw on. Parents don’t need to buy too many items, but having a few on hand can be very helpful to soothe their baby’s teething pain. Always check that toys are safety tested before purchasing.
A soft bristled toothbrush can also serve as an effective teething toy. Be sure to buy one that is designed specifically for infants!
Your baby can use teething rings.
Teething rings are another great option to aid in the teething process. Many teething rings can be put in the refrigerator so they can provide a cooling sensation to your little one’s gums (do not put teething toys in the freezer). Again, make sure that these products have been safety tested. A nice, cold teething ring can be the perfect solution to your little one’s gum pain.
You can use a natural teething remedy.
There are many natural teething remedies, although parents should avoid anything with benzocaine (a numbing agent). A cold wet washcloth can be soothing for a teething baby to chew on. Teething biscuits can be enjoyed by babies that are old enough to sit up on their own (just be prepared for a big mess!). Babies that have started solid foods might enjoy gnawing on a carrot, cucumber, pear, or apple slice – but be sure to watch your baby for signs of choking. You might also let your baby chew on frozen fruit or breast milk in a mesh feeder. You can also purchase popsicle molds to make homemade treats for your teething baby to munch on.
A cold washcloth is also another simple, natural remedy for sore gums. The KeaBabies DELUXE Organic Baby Wash Cloths are made from natural, soft bamboo fibers that are perfect for your baby to chew on! They are high quality, baby-safe towels that can be rinsed and placed in the refrigerator to cool. The soft fibers can be soothing for your baby’s mouth!
You can also give your little one a soothing gum massage. Gently rub your clean finger along her aching gums for a quick, simple way to cope with teething pain.
Homeopathic teething tablets, teething gels, and other remedies have not been widely studied and may be harmful. Steer clear of things like toys with small parts or amber teething necklaces that may present a choking hazard. Always consult with your child’s pediatrician before trying any new over the counter medications and supplements.
You can schedule a dental visit.
If you have any concerns about your baby’s gums or your baby’s teeth, make an appointment with a pediatric dentist to address any problems. As soon as your baby’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Regular dental care for your little one can help diagnose and treat small issues before they turn into major problems!
Your baby will have a mouthful of teeth before you know it, but it can be frustrating to deal with as your baby’s gums become inflamed and painful! Thankfully, there are many forms of teething relief that can help your little one get through the worst of the discomfort!
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.