A guide to teething and teething remedies for babies.
When babies go through teething it can be a testing time for everyone. It can also feel like there’s no end in sight.
I have put together a little guide which covers everything from what to expect, how long teething lasts and how to help your baby when they are experiencing teething pain.
When will my baby get their first tooth?
Most babies will cut their first tooth when they are around 6 months old.
It will usually (but not always) be on the bottom gum, at the front.
Every baby is different though so some babies may cut their first tooth when they are 4 months old and some will be closer to a year old. Some are even born with a tooth already cut! I’m sure that would make breastfeeding very interesting!
If your baby still hasn’t got their first tooth by the time they are 18 months old, speak to your GP.
Is Teething Painful
There’s mixed opinions on this. Some health professionals insist that cutting a tooth isn’t painful but it you read the symptoms listed below it’s hard to believe that some of them aren’t caused by pain or, at least, discomfort.
What are the signs of teething?
Parents often mistake drooling and chewing on fists from around 3 months as signs of teething (I know I certainly did) but these are just normal activities for babies of that age.
So what are the signs?
- Flushed cheeks
- Rubbing their ears
- Gum is visibly red and swollen where tooth is pushing through
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
How long does it take for a tooth to come through?
Unfortunately there’s no exact answer. Experts estimate around 1-7 days.
Teething Rings - ones that you can put in the fridge as cooling the gum can help with inflammation (never put a teething ring in the freezer - they become too firm and can bruise delicate gums and, in extreme case, they can cause frostbite on your baby’s lips and gums).
Hard foods - if your baby is eating solids, try offering finger sized foods that are firm/hard for them to gnaw on such as cucumber sticks, melon with the skin left on and sliced pepper.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen - if your baby is in pain or has a raised temperature then give them painkilling medicine which is specifically designed for babies. Pick the sugar free versions and ALWAYS read the instructions as dosage WILL vary between products and brands.
Teething Gels - you can buy teething gels over the counter at your local pharmacist or supermarket. There’s not much evidence to support whether they actually work though so maybe try other things first.
How many teeth will my baby get?
By the age of 3, most children will have a full set of 20 teeth.
How do I look after my baby’s teeth?
I started brushing my daughter's teeth before she even had any! My plan was to incorporate teeth brushing into our routine as young as possible so when we HAD to do it, my daughter would already be used to it. It worked too!
Here are some other tips:
- Let your baby watch you brush your own teeth
- Use a baby tooth brush with just a smear of fluoride toothpaste
- Sit baby on your knee with their head rested against your chest and try and make a game out of it
- After you have brushed their teeth, let them have a go at doing it themselves