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This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Perhaps your baby is drooling quite a bit, or they’re a little more cranky than usual. Teething pain is normal for every baby and it’s a sign those first baby teeth are on their way!

It’s difficult to predict when your baby’s first teeth will appear. And there may or may not be a host of teething symptoms to inform you. In other words, you may be taken aback, or you may finally understand what those unusual symptoms were all about.

When do infants begin teething?

When it comes to when teething begins, there is a broad range of normal. That’s because the first time those first small pearly whites make an appearance varies greatly from infant to infant.

Teething symptoms can develop as early as two or three months before a baby’s first tooth appears, with most babies getting their first tooth at about 6 months of age.

However, some newborns’ first teeth appear as early as 3 or 4 months of age, while others do not appear until around or after their first year.

What are the most prevalent teething symptoms?

Teething is different for every infant. Some have hardly any symptoms, while others experience weeks of pain and irritability.

Knowing what teething signs to watch for might help you and your baby get through this stage. The following are some of the initial indicators of teething:

  • Drooling – Teething can produce excessive drooling. Babies will usually begin to drool more at around ten weeks to four months, and it can go for however long your child’s teeth are coming in.
  • Rashes – Drooling can cause irritation, redness, chapping, and rashes around your baby’s mouth, chin, and even his chest and neck. It’s easiest to prevent discomfort if you pat it away.
  • Coughing or gagging – A steady stream of spit can cause babies to gag and cough. As long as your baby shows no additional signs of a cold, flu, or allergies, this is no cause for alarm.
  • Biting – The pressure of teeth coming through can cause quite a bit of unpleasantness for children, which can often be eased by biting or chewing.  Teething infants will bite on anything in their path, including their fingers, your hands, rattles, crib bars, and stroller guards.
  • Whining or crying – Some babies are impervious to the pain of teething. Others experience significant pain as a result of the inflammation of fragile gums, which they feel obliged to share with you through their cries and tears. Fortunately, most babies grow accustomed to the sensation of teething and are no longer troubled by it.
  • Irritability – As the tiny tooth presses against the gums and protrudes to the surface, your child’s mouth will hurt. Without surprise, he’ll probably feel out of sorts as a result of it. Some babies are irritable for a few hours, whereas others can be cranky for days or even weeks.
  • Loss of appetite – Cranky babies want to soothe their aching mouth by placing anything inside, whether it’s a bottle or their mother’s breast. However, the suction of feeding may aggravate a teething infant’s painful gums. Because of this, teething babies can be temperamental about feedings and get even more unhappy when they can’t find satisfaction with their teeth or their tummies.
  • Fingers in mouth – Babies may walk around with their fingers in their mouth for hours as they rub their gums for relief.
  • Not sleeping through the night – As your baby’s teeth begin to appear, his pain may interfere with his nightly resting, even if he formerly slept the entire night.
  • Rubbing cheeks and pulling ears – Infants with teeth coming in may pull on their ears or touch their cheeks or chins repeatedly. Because the gums, ears, and cheeks all share neural pathways, an aching in the gums, particularly from incoming molars, can be experienced elsewhere in the body. Recognize that ear pulling might be an indication of a tired baby or a sign of an ear infection, so be sure to figure out what’s causing it.

What is the best way to calm a teething baby?

You can alleviate some of your child’s teething symptoms by using the following remedies that have been tried and tested, and parent-proved.

  • Teething Toys – Teething infants like biting, and for good reason, too: the gnawing movement causes pressure against the gums, which alleviates pain as teeth begin pushing up and through to the mouth. Teething aids such as textured rubber toys, your cleaned fingers, or a gentle, wet toothbrush rubbed gently on the child’s gums can provide comforting counter-pressure. Your infant might resist for a while because it hurts, but it is sometimes the best natural remedy for teething, and it gives some immediate relief.
  • Cold Damp Washcloths – Teething pain can be relieved by applying a cool damp washcloth to your baby’s inflamed and irritated gums. Don’t put them in the freezer, though, as it can result in freezer burn.
  • Cold Teething Rings – Keep a stash of teething and chewing toys in your refrigerator. These products are typically soft and full of water to maintain their temperature longer. Never put these in the freezer, though… it’s too cold for your child.
  • Cold Food – Refrigerated snacks like yogurt, mashed peach, or applesauce (after these foods have been introduced) can be more palatable than warmer room temperature foods. However, don’t go overboard. Allowing the youngster to chew on cold foods throughout the day can weaken the enamel on the developing teeth, leading to cavities later.

There is also over-the-counter gels that can be rubbed on your baby’s gums that provide some numbing relief. Please check with your physician first, though.

Should we make a dentist appointment?

Unless your baby is over a year old and has some teeth, there’s really nothing that a dentist can do to assist with teething. Once your baby turns one year old and has most of their baby teeth in, you should schedule your baby’s first appointment, though.

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Dr. Katie Peterson

“Dr. Katie” is a graduate of DePauw University and the Indiana University School of Dentistry. She is a member of the American Dental Association, Indiana Dental Association, and an affiliate of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. With more than a decade of experience, Dr. Katie became enchanted with pediatric patient population early in her career, and has focused on the care and treatment of young patients ever since. She has worked at the westside office since 2005, as an associate then lead dentist, before acquiring both the two practices. This has allowed her to sharpen her leadership skills and create a staff that shares her vision of “patient first.”