Dentistry
Cosmetic
Product Reviews
Updated on February 2, 2023
5 min read

Signs Your Baby is Teething & What to Do

NewMouth is reader supported. We may earn a commission if you purchase something using one of our links. Advertising Disclosure.

When Do Children Start Teething?

Babies’ first teeth (also called primary teeth) usually start growing before they are 4 months old, while some start teething after 10 months. 

According to the National Health Service (NHS), most babies grow their first tooth at around 6 months. Also, primary teeth can erupt with accompanying pain in some babies, while other babies might not experience pain.1

Many parents seek ways to soothe their baby with teething toys and pain relievers during teething discomfort.

baby biting a teething toy

6 Signs of Teething

The bottom incisors of babies’ teeth usually erupt first, followed by the top front incisors, the top lateral incisors, the first molars, bottom lateral incisors, canines, and second molars.6

The baby teething timeline typically runs from about 4 months to 2 ½ years. Not every child will have teeth erupt in the typical sequence. 

Some signs can indicate when the teething process has started, such as:

1. Excessive Drooling

When a baby’s teeth erupt, the process can stimulate the salivary glands. This causes an excessive release of saliva and drooling.

2. Biting

Teething babies feel pressure from under the gums. They tend to bite and chew on their gums or anything inside their mouths.

The counter pressure from biting and gnawing can relieve the pressure underneath the gums.

3. Eating and Sleeping Changes 

Teething causes discomfort in babies, which can disrupt their bedtime rest or normal sleep pattern. 

Also, cranky babies usually desire to be breastfed. However, the suction might make their sore gums feel worse. The babies end up frustrated and fussy when they don’t find relief.

4. Ear Pulling 

Pain in the gums can radiate to the ears, especially when molars emerge. Babies experiencing this can’t help but rub that area and pull on their ears. However, note that ear pulling can also signify an ear infection. Contact your child’s pediatrician if it continues.

5. Cheek Biting

Similar to the ears, teething pain can also be felt in the cheeks, causing an itching sensation. Your baby will bite his or her cheeks to try and relieve the itching sensation.

6. Crying

Babies get easily irritated during the teething process. They tend to get fussy and cry a lot because of the pain. A child’s growing teeth tend to be more painful if it’s the first tooth that erupts. Most babies get used to teething as time goes on.

Other baby teething symptoms include:

  • Irritability and fretting more than usual
  • Sore gums
  • Cheek rubbing
  • Lack of interest in solid foods
  • Running a mild temperature of 38°C
  • One flushed cheek
  • Gnawing and chewing on things a lot

Home Remedies for Teething Babies 

Below are some pain relief tips for easing your baby’s teething symptoms:

Massaging With a Clean Finger

You can gently massage your baby’s gums. Put your finger into your baby’s mouth and allow the baby to chew on it. Rub on the gums in a circular motion, applying a little pressure. Make sure you wash your hands before doing this.

Teethers

Teethers include teething rings or bracelets made of silicone, plastic, or rubber. It is best to use a solid teething ring as the liquid-filled ones may get punctured and released into the baby’s mouth.

Cooling Mechanism

Giving your baby cool water may help soothe his or her gums. If you have introduced your baby to solid foods, frozen fruits like bananas or berries might be good options. 

Pain Relief Medications

For babies that are three months or older, you can give them pain relief medicines like paracetamol. However, be sure to administer the medicines as directed by your physician to avoid overdosing.

Teething Remedies to Avoid 

Some teething remedies can worsen the symptoms, causing harm to your baby's oral health. These include:

Numbing Gels

Avoid using numbing gels or creams on your baby’s teeth, as they mostly contain benzocaine.

Benzocaine induces methemoglobinemia (increased level of hemoglobin that cannot carry oxygen). This decreases the amount of oxygen in circulation.5

Belladonna Teething Tablets 

Just like numbing gels, some teething tablets contain ingredients that cause unpleasant side effects (e.g., belladonna). Belladonna is unsafe when taken orally and can cause enlarged pupils, rapid heartbeat, and fever.

Amber Teething Necklaces

Amber teething necklaces are made of baltic amber beads that are strung together. Some believe amber teething necklaces offer pain relief to a baby’s sore gums. However, they can cause harmful effects such as choking and death and should be avoided.

Your baby’s pediatric dentist can provide medical advice during the first checkup. 

Potential Side Effects of Teething

When babies start teething, it is usually an unpleasant experience for them and their parents.

While teething is a necessary stage of a baby’s development, it can be associated with some side effects, such as:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling or inflammation of the gum
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Rash
  • Eruption cysts

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), these symptoms are abnormal. If your baby experiences them, you should take him or her to a pediatric dentist.3

What is ‘Teething Fever?’ 

Contrary to what some parents believe, teething does not cause a high fever. You may notice a slight temperature rise when your baby is teething. However, a high fever is not a sign of teething.4

Teething can only raise a baby’s temperature slightly. If a teething baby runs a high fever (above 100.4°F), it would be best to consult a pediatrician. 

Fever could explain the slight rise in temperature experienced by a teething baby. However, high fever in babies is most likely caused by other illnesses unrelated to teething, such as an infection.

When to Call Your Doctor About Teething

Teething is a natural developmental process.

Even though it is uncomfortable for most babies, it does not cause harm. See a doctor if your baby cries too often and you are not certain it is because of painful teething. Routine dental checkups are also essential.

See a pediatrician if your baby shows severe symptoms like high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or rashes. Your baby might be suffering from an illness.

Summary

Teething is a natural development process in babies that can cause them discomfort. Learning about the symptoms of teething can help you understand what your baby is going through. It will also allow you to provide remedies to ease your baby's pain.

Last updated on February 2, 2023
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 2, 2023
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Baby teething symptoms.” National Health Service, 2019. 
  2. Macknin, M, et al. “Symptoms Associated with Infant Teething: A Prospective Study.” Pediatrics, 2000. 
  3. Teething.” American Dental Association.
  4. Teething or Sick: How to Tell in Your Baby.” Franciscan Health, 2019.
  5. Sachdeva, Rajesh, et al. “Benzocaine-induced Methemoglobinemia.” Texas Health Institute Journal, 2003.
  6. "Anatomy and Development of the Mouth and Teeth." Stanford Children's Health.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram