How Do You Know When Your Baby Is Teething? Signs, Tips, And Things You Should NOT Do.

Your baby’s first milestones are always precious, their first smile, making a fist with their hands, the first giggle, first roll on to their tummy and their first little precious tooth. What’s not so adorable is the extreme fussiness and crankiness that comes along with her pearly whites.

Your baby’s first tooth makes a grand debut anywhere between 4 to 7 months. The process of teething is uncomfortable for the baby as those first set of teeth break through the gum. For some babies, the primary teeth can appear as soon as 3 months, or you might still see a toothless grin on her first birthday. The appearance of those precious pearly whites is different from baby to baby.

A teething baby is not much of a happy baby, your little one has baby teeth coming out for the first time and it can be quite painful. Teething toys can be helpful for their swollen gums, and there’s not much you can do about their excessive drooling (keep that bib handy).

The teething process is something we’ve all gone through, and it’s your little one’s passage into getting some nice pearly whites soon. Let’s look at some teething signs, how to support your little one during their teething discomfort, and when you should see a pediatric dentist.

Keep a lookout for the following signs of teething

Baby boy drooling because he's teething

Lots of drooling! (those water work will not stop)

Babies drool a lot when they are teething. Some babies not so much while other babies will soak up multiple bibs. Pat the skin dry near the mouth area to avoid any chapping.

Teething Rash (drooling can cause rashes on the chin and neck area)

Your little one might develop a rash on the chin and neck area because of all that drooling. Clean with a cloth throughout the day and make sure the skin is dry. Apply a moisture barrier like Vaseline or nipple cream on the skin to prevent any rash.

If your little one has multipe folds of skin in his or her neck, be sure to check and clean that area regularly, as drool (and even milk from feedings) can run down their neck and stay in the folds to cause problems.

Baby boy teething and gnawing on an orange toy for relief

Gnawing on toys

Teething causes discomfort to babies, and they tend to gnaw and chew anything they get their hands on (Disclaimer: beware of their bite when you’re breastfeeding). 

Find them different kinds of teether- rubber, silicone, baby rattles, and wooden toys. Let them decide which teether gives them more relief. Even your clean knuckles can easily do the job.

Every baby has different preferences, my little one loved gnawing on her extra-padded infant reading book. She did quite some damage to it over the weeks and months.

Loss of appetite 

Chewing on things might help them, but not sucking. Teething babies tend to refuse to eat because sucking on a bottle or your breasts hurt their sore or tender gums.

Crankiness (a common sign for other reasons too, like gas.)

Fussiness or crankiness is also known as a developmental sign since their birth and not necessarily associated with just teething. But, during this time, they’ll be crankier than the usual; they’ll cry more, need more attention and will always want you around. Don’t worry; it’s just a phase. Soothe them by snuggling with them and distracting them.

Ear pulling and cheek rubbing

This is an uncommon sign of teething. Not all babies, but some will furiously tug on their ears and rub their cheeks when they are teething. Why, you ask? Because gums, ear, and cheeks share nerve pathways which may result in the pain felt elsewhere. Ear tugging is also a sign of ear infection, so to rule this out, make sure to visit your pediatrician.  

Poor sleep

An erupting sharp tooth through their gums can cause discomfort and soreness to your baby, and they may find it difficult to sleep at night or during day naps. If they wake up in the middle of their nap, soothe them by singing lullabies or pat their shoulders.

Mild fever

This is another uncommon sign of teething, and not all babies have a fever. Some babies might have a mild fever of 99°F, but a fever above 100.4°F is not a sign of teething, and you should visit your pediatrician immediately.

In what order does baby tooth come in?

Baby's first tooth coming in

The most common teeth to come in are the bottom front teeth (central incisors), which comes around 5 to 7 months of age. This is followed by the top front teeth (front incisors); they come around 6 to 8 months of age. 

The rest of the teeth come in outwardly towards the back of the mouth- top and bottom lateral incisors, followed by first molar (back teeth), followed by canines, and then comes in the second molars. 

After the central incisors come in, the order of the eruption of the milk teeth can be in any order and doesn’t warrant concern if there’s a variation in the order. Most of the babies will have all their milk teeth by the time they are 2 ½ years old. 

‘Natal teeth’ is a rare condition where a newborn baby is born with one or more teeth. These natal teeth have fragile root and occur in 1 of every 2000 babies.

Is putting hands in his mouth a sign of teething?

Well, generally no, your baby putting her fingers in the mouth is not just a sign of teething. It’s a milestone that most babies reach by the age of 3 months.

This is a time when they have discovered their hands and explore them by staring at them or putting them in their mouth. 

How long teething pain lasts?

How long does a baby have to go through the teething pain is not certain, but it is estimated that after they show signs of teething, the tooth erupts anywhere from 1-8 days.

The teething discomfort only lasts a few days, but again, it varies from babies to babies.

How can I soothe my baby’s teething pain?

Baby teething toy for gums relief

When your baby is teething, it’s hard to see them in pain, no? I remember my little one getting his first tooth, seeing him suffer would literally pain us. Here are a few home remedies we tried to soothe our baby’s sore gums.

  • Massaging your baby’s gums: You can gently massage your baby’s gums with your clean fingers. You can also use a gauze pad, and the pressure you apply to the gums will ease your baby’s pain. What I personally do sometimes is clean my fingers and dip them in cold water and gently massage my baby’s gums.
  • Offer your little one something cool: You can offer a cold spoon, pacifier, or cold teething ring to chew on. But, make sure not to offer frozen items as they can adversely affect your baby’s gums. Once your baby is over 8 months, you can also offer cold water in their sippy cups.
  • Let them chew: Give them clean teething rings or rattles preferably cold ones to relieve them of the teething pain. Keep an eye on them whenever you’re offering them something to avoid any choking hazard. You should avoid water/gel-filled teethers as your baby’s sharp teeth can cut through them, resulting in babies swallowing the gel.
  • Medication: You can give them over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen if your baby is 6 months or older to numb the pain. Always check the dosage on the label of the medicine. Give the medication only if your pediatrician gives you a ‘thumbs up’ on it.

What things should I avoid?

DO NOT, under any circumstance, give your baby amber teething necklaces or bracelets. They pose a great risk of choking hazards, and no evidence suggests that they work, neither any pediatrician recommends them.

DO NOT give any herbal teething medicines or topical numbing agents. They create grounds of severe problems like reduced oxygen levels in blood, heart problems and drowsiness. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings against using these agents to numb sore gums. 

DO NOT rub alcohol on your baby’s gums. It’s an old wives’ tale that rubbing alcohol on baby’s teeth help them soothe the pain, but no matter how persuasive your relative’s advice is, do not do that.

How should I take care of my baby’s teeth once they arrive?

After those cute little teeth come in, take a soft, clean cloth and run them over your baby’s gums, twice a day after the first morning feeding and before bed. Follow this routine religiously to develop good oral hygiene. 

After they turn one, you can use a soft-bristled brush with a tad amount of toothpaste, the size of a rice grain. Have their first dental check-up when they are 2 years old to make sure their teeth and jaws are developing correctly. After your little one turns 3, you can use pea-sized fluoride toothpaste. For detailed oral hygiene, you can check out ‘How to look after baby teeth.’

When should you consult your pediatrician?

If your baby hasn’t had a tooth erupt till she’s 18 months of age, you should visit the doctor to know about the reason behind the delay. 

Some elders and parents speculate that it is common for babies to have diarrhea when they are teething because babies tend to swallow their drool, but this hasn’t been proved yet. So, if you suspect that teething is making your baby ill, you should definitely give your doctor a call.

If the baby has a fever above 101 degrees, along with vomiting, visit your doctor.

If your baby’s gums have turned red or blue, this usually signifies an eruption cyst; it’s best to have them checked.

Conclusion

All in all, what we at 1happykiddo are trying to say is, relax and breathe through the whole phase. Dear dad or mom, be patient with your baby, she needs you now the most (come on, it’s been only a few months since she has come to this giant world).

The tooth is going to come when it’s time, and every kiddo is different; you don’t have to panic when your baby hits 6 months, but there’s no tooth. The best you can do is snuggle up against her and kiss, kiss, and more kisses on her cute little chubby cheeks.

Happy Teethin’!

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