When will my baby start teething?
Babies usually start teething around six months, but it’s perfectly normal for teething to begin any time between three months and 12 months. There is generally no need to worry about early or late teething.
Is my baby teething?
Babies appear to experience teething differently. While some feel and express a lot of pain and disruption to their routine, other babies cut their teeth without much apparent distress. However, there are several common signs that parents around the world recognise as teething symptoms. These include:
- Flushed cheeks
- Sore or red gums
- Excessive dribbling
- Chewing and gnawing on hard objects
- Fretful behaviour
- Fussing during breastfeeds or bottle feeds
If your baby has severe symptoms, then seek medical advice.
Which teeth will cut first?
Your baby’s teeth will appear in the following order:
- Bottom two front teeth (incisors)
- Top two front teeth (incisors)
- Top lateral incisors (either side of the top front teeth)
- Bottom lateral incisors (either side of the bottom front teeth)
- Second molars
- By 30 months, most children will have all of their first teeth (also called milk teeth)
How can I soothe my baby’s teething pain?
As a baby’s tooth moves through the gum, it can cause swelling and inflammation. If your little one seems to be in pain while teething, there are several things you can do to help.
- Some babies like to chew on something hard and cold like a teething ring that has been in the fridge. This might ease their discomfort and distract them a little. Never put a teething ring in the freezer as it could damage your baby’s gums if it becomes too hard or cold. Never tie a teething ring around your baby’s neck as it is a choking hazard
- A cold, wet, clean flannel is also good for them to chew on – this can go into the fridge as well
- Teething gels can be used on babies over four months and are available from most chemists. They work by using a local anaesthetic on the gum where it is rubbed. Make sure you use a gel specially designed for babies – not a general oral pain relief gel. Also check the gel does not contain an ingredient called salicylate salts – this, like aspirin, can cause a rare condition called Reye’s syndrome, which can cause serious liver and brain damage
- If your baby is already having finger foods you can give them something healthy to chew on – such as raw fruit or vegetables. However, never leave your baby unattended as there is a risk of choking if their sharp teeth break off big bits of food
- Avoid sugary foods. Even very little babies can get tooth decay!
- Medicines – if your baby is old enough and is in pain or has a raised temperature, you can give them a dose of Calpol or Nurofen for Children. Don’t give aspirin to children under 16 as it has been linked to the rare condition Reye’s syndrome.
- Cool (not too cold) water in a sippy cup can help soothe baby’s gums
Should I brush my baby’s teeth?
Start cleaning your baby’s teeth as soon as they cut through the gum. Use a soft baby toothbrush with a very tiny smear of age-appropriate fluoride toothpaste. It’s a good idea to include this in your baby’s daily routine as then they will get used to it early on. Try to do it at least twice a day, once just before bed, and then another convenient time (after breakfast, perhaps, when they started solids). The easiest position is with them on your knee with their little head resting against your chest. You can also clean them with a gauze wrapped around your finger. Put on a tiny bit of toothpaste and rub the teeth gently.
Should I take my baby to the dentist?
Register your baby with a dentist once their teeth begin to appear. Your baby’s dentist will advise you how often to arrange a check-up in their first few years.