A general guide to teething and tips to help ease your baby's pain and discomfort.
Babies generally start teething at around 6 months of age but some start as early as 3-4 months and others are 12 months of
age before their first tooth appears. All are within the normal range.
A baby will be teething on and off every few weeks or months, every time lasting a few days up until they are 2-3 years old and have all their milk teeth.
Teething can be a very difficult and uncomfortable time for babies/ toddlers and their parents/carers. Many babies suffer with teething symptoms, pain and discomfort, while others are pain free with no symptoms or discomfort at all. Some infants struggle with feeding, due to sore gums, while others will be cross and irritable because of the pain and discomfort, and because they have been up during the night or had disturbed sleep. This varies from baby to baby and even from tooth to tooth.
• Being more fretful, teary, and clingy than usual.
• Being irritated and/or cross.
• Waking up more at night and being generally unsettled, missing nap times, or waking up earlier than usual.
• One or both cheeks are flushed.
• Dribbling more than usual (may develop dribbling rash).
• Chewing on things more than usual.
• Baby's gums are red, sore, or inflammed. You may see the start of a tooth emerging.
• Rubbing or pulling at their ears on the side of a red cheek or where a tooth is emerging.
The below ages are just a guide. Every baby will develop at a pace that is individual to them.
1. Bottom front teeth (bottom incisors) are usually the first to appear between 4-8 months of age.
2. Next to appear are usually the top front teeth (top incisors) between 6-9 months of age.
3. At about 8-12 months of age front teeth will appear either side of the top front teeth (top lateral incisors).
4. At around 9-12 months teeth will appear either side of the bottom front teeth (bottom lateral incisors).
5. Next to appear will be the back teeth (first molars) between 12-18 months of age.
6. Between 16-20 months of age the canines will appear on the sides towards the back of the mouth.
7. The last teeth to come through will be the second molars between 20-30 months of age.
A baby may have a new tooth appear every few weeks or gaps of a few months between teeth. Some babies even get a few teeth emerging at
the same time.
Toddlers should have all their milk teeth by the time they are 3 years old.
Make sure your baby is wearing a bib or dribble catcher (to absorb the dribble) and change it often.
If your baby develops a rash or sore irritated skin from dribbling, apply a cool moisturising barrier cream (suitable for babies).
Rub teething granules or gel onto your baby's sore gums (use according to the instructions on the pack).
Give your baby a cold teething ring, or toy with ridges and edges on them, to help the emerging teeth pop through the gum.
An older baby or toddler may enjoy chewing on a cold cucumber or carrot stick that has been in the fridge.
If your older baby or toddler is off food due to sore or swollen gums, offer soft foods such as cereals, soups, mash potato, rice pudding, custard, yogurts, and soft fruits that will be easier to eat than solid foods (which may be acidy and irritate the gums further).
Make sure your baby is kept hydrated by giving him/her plenty of fluids, especially if he or she is a young baby or if not eating much.
If you have any concerns about your baby's health while teething, or he/she seems unusually unwell, contact your Health Visitor or G.P. Your pharmacist may be able to offer advice and suggest products that may help.