Safest Teeth Whiteners
The safest ways to whiten your teeth explained
A baby’s first tooth typically emerges around 6 months old. However, they may come in as early as 3 months or as late as 1 year.
Even before these teeth begin to show, you may already notice your baby showing symptoms of teething.
Baby teeth, also called milk teeth, primary teeth, or deciduous teeth, generally show up in pairs. They tend to come in the following order:1
The exact order baby teeth come in is usually due to genetics.2 In rare cases, one or more central incisors might already be present when a baby is born. A neonatal tooth is a tooth that is present at birth.
Some common symptoms suggest your baby is starting to teethe. Many of these symptoms develop because teething can be painful and uncomfortable. But keep in mind that every child is different, so they will handle discomfort in different ways.
In addition, no one symptom or cluster of symptoms can predict exactly when a tooth is about to come in.3
Symptoms commonly associated with teething include:4
The pain of teething might lead your baby to refuse to eat, drink, or suckle. Your baby may also pull on their ears in an effort to relieve pain or pressure.
Excessive drooling might cause a rash to form on your baby’s chin or the edges of their mouth. Wiping your baby’s mouth periodically can help prevent this.
Around the time babies start teething, they lose the protection of their mother’s antibodies against bacterial and viral infections.5
Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6), for example, infects the vast majority of people before the age of 2.6 This and other viruses can cause symptoms that overlap with signs of teething. You’ll want to pay close attention to rule out other possible causes if your baby is uncomfortable.
Symptoms that may suggest an infection and not just teething include:
Signs and symptoms of infection are sometimes easy to mistake for teething symptoms. Poor appetite, irritability, and sleep disturbances can be caused by herpes and teething pain.7
Diarrhea can be a sign of illness, but it may be a result of contamination from your baby biting their fingers or contaminated objects. Swallowing excess saliva may also cause looser stools than usual.4
There are several ways you can give your teething baby relief:
Your baby may have a strong desire to bite or chew to relieve teething pain. There are teething toys and teething biscuits or crackers made just for this purpose.
You can even offer your clean finger for your baby to nibble on if their teeth haven’t emerged yet. Massaging your baby’s gums can also help relieve pressure.
Cold temperatures can have a soothing effect for teething babies. You can put teething toys in the fridge to cool them down. Or, place a small cold spoon over your baby’s gums.
Avoid giving your baby anything frozen solid. This might be too hard on their mouth.
Yogurt, fruit or vegetable puree, and other cold foods can also provide relief. Teething meshes or feeders allow babies to safely gnaw on solid food.
Holding and comforting your baby will go a long way in helping them through teething. You can wipe their mouth to prevent a rash from forming due to excessive drooling.
However, if your baby has trouble sleeping through the night, you’ll want to avoid encouraging a habit of early waking. After providing comfort, try to encourage self-soothing.
If your baby’s pain seems especially persistent, talk to your pediatrician about providing baby doses of pain relievers. Follow their instructions carefully.
Avoid the following remedies:
If you’re unsure about a product meant to provide relief for your baby, consult your dentist or pediatrician.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a baby’s first dental appointment shortly after their first tooth appears, but no later than their first birthday.
The time when your baby begins to teethe is also a time that they are vulnerable to infections such as first-time herpes (HSV-1 or HHV-6) infection. Sometimes these infections cause symptoms that are mild and easy to confuse with teething.
You should notify a doctor if your baby shows any of the following:
Baby teeth generally start coming in between 3 and 12 months of age. Teething can be painful and uncomfortable, but special care and reassurance will help your baby get through it.
Sometimes infections can cause symptoms that are easy to mistake for normal teething. Pay close attention to rule out other causes. Talk to a doctor if your baby shows any concerning symptoms like a high-grade fever, a rash, diarrhea, or refusing to eat.