Teething 101

Teething is the process of a baby’s first teeth peeking through the gums. Chewing on hard items, excessive drooling, slight fever, refusal to eat, rash of the chin or face from increased drooling, fussiness or irritability, difficulty sleeping, slight fever, and swollen or sensitive gums are all signs of teething in children. Teething can begin as early as three months, though you will most likely see the first tooth push through between four and seven months. The first teeth that usually appear are the two bottom front teeth, also known as the central incisors. Four to eight weeks later, the four upper front teeth typically fill in next.

As kids begin teething, they might drool more and desire chewing on different items, especially hard plastics or rubbers. For some, teething is painless, but for others, there may be periods of irritability, while others may seem cranky for weeks with crying spells and disrupted sleeping and eating patterns. As your baby teethes, his gums may become tender or swollen, which could cause your baby’s temperature to be slightly higher than usual.

Teething can be an uncomfortable process for your child, but there are things that you can do to make the process as stress free and painless as possible. Gently wiping your baby’s face often with a cloth to remove excess droll prevents rashes from developing. Frequently rubbing your baby’s gums with a clean finger to remove any residue is a good idea. Teething toys allow your baby comfort in finding something to chew on, such as rubber rings. Make sure that teething toys are big enough that they cannot be swallowed, choked on, or broken into small pieces. If teething toys are not available, a wet washcloth placed in the freezer for thirty minutes can make a handy aid for teething.

Teething biscuits and frozen or cold food are only safe for children who already eat solid foods. Children six months or older can chew on raw fruits or vegetables. Soft fruit like berries or melons can soothe the gums. Always monitor children when giving them solid food in case they choke.

If your baby seems irritable, ask your pediatrician if it is acceptable to give a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease discomfort. Never place aspirin or alcohol against the tooth or gums. While teething toys can be difficult to keep up with, make sure never to tie a teething ring around the baby’s neck or any other body part. The toy may become caught on something or twisted, which can lead to strangulation. Avoid teething gels or tablets, as they may not be safe for babies.

As soon as teeth begin to form, caring and cleaning for them is important to long-term dental health. At the sight of the first tooth, parents should make appointments with a pediatric dentist within six months to spot any potential problems or advise parents about preventive care. Brush the first teeth with water and fluoridated toothpaste, using only a tiny amount.

Though teething issues can typically be handled at home, contact your child’s pediatrician at Goldsboro Pediatrics if teething interferes with eating or drinking, or if your child seems particularly uncomfortable and cannot be soothed.

Mayo Clinic
National Health Service

Back to Archive