It’s an exciting milestone when you see that first tiny tooth sprout in your baby’s mouth. But it’s also the beginning of a major (and sometimes painful) transition, as the rest of your infant’s primary teeth break through the gums. Teething can be tough on both baby and parents, but it won’t last forever! Here’s what you need to know.
When do babies start teething?
Babies usually get their first tooth somewhere between 4 and 8 months old, and have a full set of 20 baby teeth around 3 years old.
In what order do teeth come in?
The two bottom middle teeth, followed by the two top middle teeth, often come in first.
What are symptoms of teething?
Some babies are more susceptible to teething symptoms than others. Your little one may show all of these signs, or very few.
- Fussiness, whining and crying more than usual
- Drooling (which can lead to a rash and/or coughing)
- Refusing to eat
- Gum sensitivity and swelling
- Biting or gnawing behavior
- Waking at night
- Ear pulling or cheek rubbing
Some parents notice that their teething babies experience other physical signs, such as fevers or digestive problems, but the American Academy of Pediatrics says these aren’t common symptoms associated with teething.
How can I soothe my teething baby?
It’s hard to watch your baby suffer through the discomfort of teething, but there are a few simple techniques that help. Gentle pressure on the gums will ease teething pain. Give your child rubber teething toys to chew on, or use a soft, damp toothbrush or washcloth to rub on the gums. Cold food and drinks also bring relief; if your baby is eating solid foods, a cool yogurt, applesauce or baby food may be a welcome treat.
If nothing seems to help, ask your pediatrician about using a child’s dosage of acetaminophen.
How do I keep my baby’s teeth healthy?
While your baby is teething, wipe down gums with a wet washcloth about twice a day to prevent bacteria from building up.
Your baby will soon have a full set of teeth, which means proper dental care will become a new priority. Avoid letting your child fall asleep with a bottle or sippy cup, which can lead to cavities. Schedule an initial dental exam around your child’s first birthday, and get advice on the best brushing habits and equipment. Use a soft toothbrush and tap water (which contains fluoride), and ask about what age to start using fluoride toothpaste (usually around age 3).