Teething in Babies: Symptoms & Treatment

a baby laying on a bed with a blanket and chewing on a toy

A cute baby playing with a yellow scarf

A Guide to Baby Teething

Welcoming a new member into your family brings immense joy, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. One of the significant milestones in a baby's early development is teething. Teething is the process by which an infant's first set of teeth, also known as primary or baby teeth, emerge through the gums. This guide aims to provide parents with essential information about baby teething, including when it typically occurs, signs and symptoms, and remedies to help soothe your little one during this sometimes uncomfortable phase.

When Do Babies Typically Get Their First Teeth?

Most babies begin teething around 6 months of age, although it can vary. Some babies might start teething as early as 3 months, while others might not experience it until they are a year old. The timing of teething is influenced by various factors, including genetics and individual development.

Signs and Symptoms of Teething

While every baby is unique, there are common signs and symptoms that indicate your little one is teething. These may include:

  1. Irritability: Your baby may become fussier than usual. They might cry more often and seem more irritable, especially during feeding and sleeping times.
  2. Drooling: Excessive drooling is a typical sign of teething. You may notice your baby's bib or shirt becoming soaked with saliva more frequently.
  3. Chewing and Gnawing: Teething babies often seek relief by chewing and gnawing on objects. You may notice them biting down on their fingers, toys, or even furniture.
  4. Swollen Gums: The gums around the emerging teeth may appear swollen and tender. You might notice redness or even see the outline of the tooth beneath the surface.
  5. Disrupted Sleep: Teething discomfort can disrupt your baby's sleep patterns. They may have trouble falling asleep or wake up more frequently during the night.
  6. Loss of Appetite: Some babies may temporarily lose interest in feeding due to the discomfort caused by teething.

Teething Remedies

While teething is a natural process, it can be uncomfortable for your baby. Fortunately, there are several remedies you can try to help alleviate their discomfort:

  1. Gentle Massage: Use a clean finger to gently massage your baby's gums. The pressure can help soothe the discomfort and provide temporary relief.
  2. Chewing Toys: Provide your baby with safe teething toys or rings made of rubber or silicone. The act of chewing can help relieve the pressure on their gums and provide a distraction from the discomfort.
  3. Cold Compress: Chill a clean, damp washcloth in the refrigerator (not freezer) for a few minutes, then give it to your baby to chew on. The cold temperature can numb the gums and reduce inflammation.
  4. Teething Rings: Look for teething rings that can be chilled in the refrigerator. The cold temperature can provide soothing relief for your baby's sore gums.
  5. Teething Gels: Consider using a teething gel specifically formulated for infants. These gels often contain mild numbing agents such as benzocaine to temporarily relieve discomfort. However, always consult with your pediatrician before using any medication or remedy on your baby.
  6. Distraction: Engage your baby in activities or play to distract them from the discomfort of teething. Singing, playing with toys, or going for a walk can help take their mind off the discomfort.
  7. Comforting Techniques: Offer extra cuddles and comfort to reassure your baby during this challenging time. Sometimes, all they need is a little extra love and attention.
Ashton & Parsons Teething Gel

The bio-adhesive gel rapidly builds an invisible film which helps to protect from discomfort and pain associated with teething. Soft applicator gently massages gums, so no need to use fingers. Contains soothing aloe vera. Suitable for infants aged 3 months+

Once your baby’s teeth start popping through you will need to register your little one with a dentist. Start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as their first tooth comes through.

When to Consult a Doctor

While teething is a natural process, it's essential to monitor your baby for any unusual symptoms or complications. Consult your pediatrician if:

  • Your baby develops a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.
  • Your baby experiences diarrhea or vomiting.
  • The teething discomfort seems severe and is not relieved by any remedies.
  • You notice signs of infection, such as pus or swelling around the gums.

Teething is a significant milestone in your baby's early development, but it can also be a challenging time for both you and your little one. By understanding the signs and symptoms of teething and knowing how to provide relief, you can help your baby navigate this phase more comfortably. Remember to be patient and offer plenty of love and comfort as your baby's first teeth emerge, paving the way for many smiles in the months and years to come.

For more baby, toddler and parenting information see our Baby & Toddler Hub.

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