When Do Babies Start Teething

Teething is an important milestone in a baby’s development that can be both exciting and challenging for parents. In this article, we will explore when babies typically start teething, signs and symptoms to look out for, and ways to make the teething process easier for your little one.

What Is Teething?

Teething refers to the emergence of a baby’s teeth through their gums. It can be a frustrating time for both babies and parents. Understanding what to expect during teething and how to alleviate any discomfort can make this phase more manageable.

When Does Teething Start?

Teething can begin as early as 3 months, but most commonly, you’ll notice the first tooth coming through between 4 and 7 months of age. The initial teeth to appear are usually the two bottom front teeth, known as the central incisors. These are typically followed by the four front upper teeth (central and lateral incisors) 4 to 8 weeks later. Around a month later, the lower lateral incisors (the two teeth flanking the bottom front teeth) will emerge. Subsequently, the first molars (back teeth used for grinding food) and the eyeteeth (pointy teeth in the upper jaw) will come through. Most children have all 20 of their primary teeth by the time they turn three. However, if your child’s teeth take longer to emerge, it’s advisable to consult a doctor.

In rare cases, some babies are born with one or two teeth or may have a tooth erupt within the first few weeks of life. Unless these teeth interfere with feeding or pose a choking risk, there is usually no cause for concern.

What Are the Signs of Teething?

As babies start teething, they may exhibit certain signs and symptoms. Some babies may experience painless teething, while others may have brief episodes of irritability. However, some babies may appear cranky for weeks, with crying spells and disrupted sleeping and eating patterns. Although teething can be uncomfortable, if your baby seems excessively fussy, it’s recommended to consult your doctor.

Drooling and a desire to chew on objects are common teething behaviors. Tender and swollen gums may cause a slightly higher body temperature, but teething typically does not cause a high fever or diarrhea. If your baby develops a fever during the teething phase, there may be another underlying cause, and it is advisable to seek medical advice.

How Can I Make Teething Easier?

Here are some tips to help ease your baby’s teething discomfort:

  • Gently wipe your baby’s face with a cloth regularly to remove drool and prevent rashes.
  • Rub your baby’s gums gently with a clean finger.
  • Provide your baby with a safe object to chew on. A wet washcloth placed in the freezer for 30 minutes can serve as a soothing teething aid. Ensure the washcloth is not too hard to avoid hurting the gums, and remember to wash it after each use. Rubber teething rings are also effective, but avoid those with liquid inside, as they may break or leak. Refrigerate them, but avoid freezing or boiling to sterilize.
  • Teething biscuits and cold/frozen foods are suitable for babies who are already eating solid foods. However, exercise caution to prevent choking hazards or any breakage.
  • If your baby appears irritable, consult your doctor about using acetaminophen or ibuprofen (for babies older than 6 months) to alleviate discomfort.
  • Avoid placing aspirin on the teeth or rubbing alcohol on your baby’s gums.
  • Never tie a teething ring around your baby’s neck or any other body part, as it may pose a strangulation risk.
  • Refrain from using amber teething necklaces, as they can lead to strangulation or choking if pieces break off.
  • It is best to avoid teething gels and tablets, as their safety for babies is uncertain.

How Should I Care for My Baby’s Teeth?

Caring for your baby’s teeth is crucial for their long-term dental health. Even though the first set of teeth will eventually fall out, tooth decay can cause them to be lost prematurely, leaving gaps before permanent teeth are ready to emerge. The remaining primary teeth may then shift, leading to crooked and misaligned permanent teeth.

Start daily dental care even before your baby’s first tooth appears. Wipe your baby’s gums gently with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze. Once the first tooth emerges, brush it with water and fluoridated toothpaste, using only a small amount. As your child grows and can spit out toothpaste, you can gradually increase the amount to a pea-sized portion. Choose a fluoride toothpaste specifically formulated for children. However, make sure your child does not swallow the toothpaste.

Brush your baby’s teeth at least twice a day, especially after meals, once all their teeth are in place. Introduce flossing when two teeth start to touch. Consult your dentist for specific advice on flossing techniques for young children. It can be helpful to involve toddlers in the routine by letting them observe and imitate as you brush and floss your own teeth.

Prevent tooth decay by ensuring your baby does not fall asleep with a bottle, as pooled milk or juice can lead to tooth decay and plaque formation.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it is recommended that children see a dentist by age 1 or within six months after their first tooth appears. This early dental visit allows for the identification of any potential problems and provides guidance to parents on preventive care.

FAQs

Q: Can babies start teething as early as 3 months old?
A: Yes, teething can begin as early as 3 months, but it’s more common for the first tooth to emerge between 4 and 7 months of age.

Q: What are the signs of teething in babies?
A: Signs of teething may include increased drooling, chewing on objects, irritability, disrupted sleep and eating patterns, and swollen gums.

Q: How can I help soothe my teething baby?
A: You can try gently rubbing your baby’s gums, providing safe objects to chew on, using teething aids like chilled washcloths or rubber teething rings, and consulting your doctor about the appropriate use of pain relievers.

Q: How should I care for my baby’s teeth?
A: Begin cleaning your baby’s gums with a damp cloth even before their first tooth emerges. Once their first tooth appears, start using a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. As your child grows, encourage regular brushing and introduce flossing when teeth start touching.

Conclusion

Teething is a significant developmental stage in a baby’s life. Most babies will start teething between 4 and 7 months old, but individual experiences may vary. It’s important to be aware of the signs of teething and employ effective strategies to alleviate any discomfort. Remember to maintain proper dental care by regularly cleaning your baby’s teeth and gums. By following these practices, you can promote good oral health and set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

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