Most babies teeth start to emerge from the gums at around six months old. This process is commonly known as teething.
As your little one's pearly whites start to emerge, some will grow with no pain and discomfort and others will cause the gums to become red and sore, or the cheeks to become flushed. Symptoms that your little one has reached the teething tooth fair stage, or is just about to, may include:
- Biting caused by the discomfort of the pressure of teeth poking from under the gums. Most teething tots will gum whatever is within arms reach.
- Drool...and lots of it. Teething is proven to stimulate drooling.
- Rash on the face or chin caused by excess amounts of drool and saliva. Patting away the drool and keeping the skin clean and dry can help prevent rash, but take care to be gentle when drying the skin. Remember to pat the skin dry and not rub. Applying a gentle skin cream for your baby before bed can help protect the skin from chafing and rash.
- Pain and irritability caused by the inflammation of tender gum tissue can cause your little one to become upset and short tempered. The first teeth and molars usually hurt the most. Some babies might become disagreeable for a matter of hours, but for others it can last for weeks or months.
- Refusal to feed and a general disinterest in the bottle and the breast. The suction caused by nursing may make teething gums feel even more sore. If your baby misses several feedings, contact your pediatrician for advice.
- Coughing caused by choking on drool.
- Diarrhoea can be the result of teething in some cases. If you notice your baby diarrhoea lasts for longer than two of your baby's bowel movements, contact your doctor.
- In some cases teething can cause low-grade fever. If it lasts for longer than three days, contact your pediatrician.
- Teething babies may furiously tug at their ears and rub their cheeks to help ease the pain. However, be cautious because babies with an ear infection will also rub and yank at their ears. If you suspect an ear infection instead of teething, check with your pediatrician.
- Gum hematoma, which looks like a bluish lump, is caused by bleeding under the gums. It will usually heal on it's own and feel better with the help of a cold compress.
At the same time, remember, you know your baby better than anyone. If you notice any behaviour that is unusual or symptoms that cause you concern, get medical help right away.
The teething process at a glance
Teething usually starts at about six months, but the exact timings and symptoms may vary from baby to baby. In some cases a baby might be born with their first teeth already, for others they may only show signs of pearly whites at four months, and for others it may be after twelve months. Most children will have their full set of milk teeth by the time they reach two and a half years. To help you understand the basic baby teething process at a glance see the following:
- Lower incisors, or bottom front teeth, are usually the first to come out and can be seen when your baby is about five to seven months old.
- Upper incisors, the top front teeth, will usually start to show then a baby is between six to eight months.
- The two side teeth at the top front row, top lateral incisors, come through at about nine to eleven months.
- The two side teeth at the bottom front row, bottom lateral incisors, will usually come up at about ten to twelve months.
- Molars at the back come at about sixteen to twenty months.
- Second molars come at around twenty to thirty months.