Like most parents, you’re concerned with knowing if your infant is healthy as they reach their milestones. So you ask the question, when will my baby start teething?
After all, you want to be as prepared as possible, so you and your child can make it through this tricky time as smoothly and painlessly as possible.
Ok, when will baby teething happen?
Firstly, like all developmental milestones (walking, talking, smiling, moving out of home…), there’s a broad range of ‘normal’. Most infants get their first tooth around six months but some can start as early as three months or as late as one year.
Generally, by your child’s third birthday they’ll have all their baby teeth. The first teeth to emerge, adding charming character to their smile, are the front teeth on the bottom jaw. Shortly followed by the front teeth in the upper jaw. The last teeth to arrive are the molars on both top and bottom. (See the chart below).
Baby teething chart:
The first baby tooth can come in at around the 6-month mark at the front. The last teeth to erupt are the molars at the back with the last one around 3 years of age.
You may call your baby’s first set of teeth ‘milk’ teeth, primary teeth or ‘deciduous’ teeth (deciduous because they ultimately fall out, replaced by our adult teeth). All up we grow 20 milk teeth, which are eventually replaced by 32 adult teeth, including wisdom teeth
Common signs of teething
For years people believed that teething causes fever and diarrhoea, however, research shows teething isn’t to blame. If your child is showing these signs, it’s more likely due to a cold or another bug. You should see your General Practitioner for treatment options.
There are some common signs that your baby might be teething. Each baby is different some may get all of them, some none.
You may notice some, or a combination of, these baby teething signs if your baby is teething:
(Note: not all babies show signs of teething.)
#1: Red gums and blistering
Teething causes swollen gums, which have a bright red appearance. In some cases, a small blister may appear where the tooth is pushing through the gums.
#2: Trouble eating
Mealtime becomes a little more difficult when your child is teething. The gums are sore and swollen, making sucking and swallowing painful.
#3: Tears & irritation
Teething babies may be extra teary and irritable due to the pain and discomfort in their gums.
#4: Sleeping trouble
Your child may be restless at nap time with a bit of pain as teeth work their way through and ‘cut’ the gums.
Teething causes extra saliva production which means more drool.
#6: Chewing objects & fingers
Your child may start gnawing anything they can get into their mouth. Chewing is a self-soothing technique that relieves pressure from the emerging teeth.
#7: Face Rash
The extra saliva produced during teething dries the skin around the lips and may result in a rash.
Soothing a teething baby
Teething is a tough time for parents because the overwhelming desire is to take away your child’s pain. This is a normal part of your child’s development, and nothing beats a little TLC to soothe a teething baby.
Some baby teething options to consider include:
Teething rings or mittens:
While teething, babies chew on anything they get into their mouths. Biting relieves the pain, and teething rings or mittens are a practical solution. Especially when you chill the teething ring before use (but do not freeze).
Applying teething gel to the affected gums acts as a local anaesthetic. This provides some pain relief. Always ask the pharmacist to ensure they are suitable for your child’s age.
Brushing baby’s teeth
As soon as your baby’s teeth start to appear through their gums, you’ll need to start brushing their teeth. This is very important.
Invisible, plaque-causing bacteria feeds on the simple sugars in the food we eat, regardless of our age. Regular brushing removes food remnants, leaving less for any bacteria present. Until 18 months, brush your baby’s teeth with a soft baby toothbrush and just plain water.
The Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentistry encourages your baby’s first visit around their first birthday. During this visit, your dentist will check your baby’s teeth and assess its healthy development. They’ll also share more advice on how to prevent early childhood decay.