Teething is rising or eruption of teeth through the gums in the mouth of babies. All babies are born with 20 primary teeth below their gums. In most babies, initial teeth start to rise or break through the gums between 6 and 12 months, but teething timeline can vary from baby to baby. Typically, the lower front teeth (lower incisors) appear first, next two upper front teeth (upper incisors) appear, and then the remaining baby teeth appear. Most children usually have their full set of baby teeth in place by age 3.
Teething is associated with some signs and symptoms, such as gum swelling, pain, and other discomforts. Teething signs and symptoms sometimes begin weeks or even months before the first set of teeth actually appear. Teething symptoms vary from baby to baby. Symptoms are mild in some babies and quite uncomfortable in other babies.
Teething may cause the following signs and symptoms in babies:
- Rash or redness around the mouth or chin
- Gum swelling and tenderness
- Increased drooling
- Intermittent fussiness
- Chewing or biting on hard objects
- Bringing hand to the mouth
- Rubbing the cheek or ear region
- Restlessness and decreased sleeping
- Refusal to eat due to gum soreness
Try the following things to soothe your teething baby:
- Massage the gums with a clean finger or back of a cold spoon
- Gently massage the gums with a cool, twisted wet washcloth
- Have the baby chew on rubber bumpy rings and rattles
- Have the baby bite down on a clean washcloth.
- Have the child chew on a chilled teething ring or a cold apple
- Feed soft foods such as applesauce or yogurt
- Feed safe teething wafers or chilled baby food
- Pain relief medicines approved by a pediatrician