A Guide To Teething
Teething is a natural process that all babies go through at some stage. It can often be very painful, so it helps if you understand the key symptoms and how to relieve some of your baby’s pain. Both of these things - and a lot more - will be revealed to you in this short guide.
What is teething?
Teething is when your baby’s primary teeth start to erupt. In essence, this means they come through the gumline and start to show. Babies are typically born with 20 teeth below their gumlines, and each one erupts at different times. By the time the teething process is over, your child will have a full set of baby teeth.
When does teething happen?
It varies from baby to baby. However, most babies will see their first teeth coming through when they’re between 3-12 months old. The front two teeth are the first two erupt, then the top two, then the incisors, premolars, canines, and the molars.
How long does teething last?
Teething lasts a lot longer than you might think. While the teeth start to come in as early as 3 months, it takes around 2 or 3 years for your baby to have the full set. It’s perfectly normal for your baby to experience pain or swelling around their gums during this period. Usually, the worst pain comes when they’re only a few months old. By the time the canines are coming in, it’s a lot easier for a child to handle.
Most babies start teething at around six months. Every baby is different, some are born with teeth or start teething at four months. Some babies experience teething as late as 12 months, when their first tooth pops up. The bottom two teeth usually appear first.
Every baby copes with teething differently. They may show signs that they’ll be welcoming a new tooth at any stage within their first year, but symptoms are common around the six-month mark.
Teething symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to several months, depending on how many teeth are coming through.
A few babies are lucky enough to feel no discomfort at all but there are tell-tale signs that a new tooth is on its way:
You may notice that your baby is dribbling more than usual. A dribble bib can help to protect clothes and petroleum jelly can reduce chafing.
Your baby will start to gnaw on anything and everything they can get their hands on. Teething toys are a great way of distracting them from chewing on their hands, or rub a clean finger over the gumline.
Your baby’s cheeks may go red, either both together or on one side. The tooth coming through can also cause irritation and your baby may feel hot.
If your baby is fretful and irritable it can be down to teething discomfort. Lack of sleep is also common and they may cry more so cuddles and comfort are important.
Easing your baby’s teething pain
Painful gums are an unfortunate side-effect of teething but there are measures you can take to ease your baby’s discomfort.
Many mums give their teething tot something cold to bite on. This helps to relieve pressure on the gums and ease pain. A cooled teething ring is ideal. Choose a solid, silicone-based option that can be sterilised and popped in the fridge.
A dummy is another good option. Many babies like to chew on the teat to help soothe and comfort.
Teething powders are sachets of tiny granules that can be poured into your baby’s mouth. Here, the powder dissolves, and the active ingredients provide long-lasting pain relief. A lot of these powders include natural ingredients that provide a calming sensation for your baby as well. So, along with removing the pain, this also helps prevent restlessness and ease them into a deeper sleep.
There are also teething gels, but teething powders are superior. The main reason is that each sachet is individually dosed. So, this ensures you don’t overdose your baby, and they get the treatment they need.
If you want to buy a high-quality teething powder, then these are the two top brands:
Nelsons sell Teetha Teething Granules that contain Chamomilla 6c - a natural calming agent. This teething powder is said to help combat many symptoms of teething, including flushed cheeks, sore gums, and excessive dribbling.
If your baby is over six months old, cold food can help. Cooled banana, cucumber or soft carrot are good examples but be wary of food that they could choke on.
Teething babies often lose their appetite and will struggle with warm food that can cause more discomfort. Offering cold fruit purees or yoghurt are a good way of topping up the calories and helping with teething pain.
Teething: A summary for parents
All babies go through teething, and the first teeth will erupt when they’re between 3-12 months old. The teething process goes on until they’re 2-3 years old, and it usually results in
Your GP or community nurse can offer further advice on teething.