How Long Does Teething last?
A baby’s first primary tooth usually begins to appear anytime between 4 and 10 months. Just like growth, every baby is so unique so don’t be concerned if your child’s teeth begin to appear earlier or later than other babies their age.
What is teething?
Teething is the process where the tooth cuts through the gums and emerges into the mouth. Teething is often a painful and uncomfortable time for your child and quite often symptoms occur before any teeth start appearing through the gums.
How long will it last?
There is no telling how long it will take for a tooth to make its way through the gum. Some babies are unsettled and unhappy for only a few days before a tooth is visible, while for others it may be a more prolonged experience. By the time your child is 3 years old, all twenty baby teeth will have come through.
Teething is often a painful and unsettling time for your baby and new teeth can explain why your baby is discontent and apparently unwell. Parents generally accept that teething can be difficult, but they also want to know how long this phase will last and what remedies exist that will help reduce some of the pain and discomfort associated with teething.
Read on to understand more about this important but often frustrating step in your child’s development:
Symptoms of teething
The range of symptoms and their severity varies between babies; your baby may cut teeth with no complaints at all or teething may bring lots of pain and tears for your bub.
For most babies though, symptoms of teething can be minor and infrequent. The pain of teething can last for around 8 days, but if multiple teeth come through simultaneously, the pain can continue for longer.
Signs of teething
If your baby is teething, you may notice:
- Swollen red gums
- Cheeks that are flushed red
- A rash on the face (resulting from excessive drooling)
- Excessive drooling
- Biting, rubbing or sucking the gums
- Changes in appetite
- Irritability and unsettled behaviour
- The appearance of a blister on the gum
Symptoms such as fever, rashes (not caused by irritation from drooling) and diarrhea are not associated with teething. If your child is experiencing these symptoms, speak to your healthcare professional. Furthermore, if symptoms of teething last for longer than a few days with no sign of a tooth, it’s possible that your baby’s pain and distress may be due to other causes and you should contact your healthcare professional.
Treating teething pain and discomfort
Quite a few natural methods exist that may help to soothe some of the pain and discomfort for your teething baby.
- If your baby is old enough, try giving them cold fruit purees or yoghurt. Or if your child is eating solids, foods like sugar-free teething rusks, peeled cucumber or chilled carrots can also assist with discomfort. Just make sure they are big enough so they can’t be swallowed and won’t pose a choking hazard.
- Drooling can cause irritation around the mouth and chin. Gently cleaning the mouth with a soft cloth can help. If your baby has a facial rash, take care not to rub the inflamed area and use a barrier cream to provide protection from further irritation.
- Rub a clean finger over your baby’s gums as the pressure can temporarily numb the pain.
- Give your baby a teething ring; refrigerating (not freezing) the teething ring before giving it to your baby adds even more relief.
- Provide your baby with a soft, cold face washer, which they can chew on. The cold can help reduce the discomfort of sore gums.
- A pacifier (or dummy) to chew or suck on can also provide some relief. Avoid putting honey or jam on the pacifier as this may increase the risk of tooth decay.
- Avoid using Amber teething necklaces as they can pose a choking hazard.
- Giving your child some extra affection and attention can also help take their mind off the pain and discomfort.
- If these methods don’t provide any relief for your child, speak to your healthcare professional.
- Teething gels aren’t usually recommended because they probably don’t help ease the pain and have side effects. Before considering any pain relief medication or teething gels containing anaesthetic to your baby, consult your baby’s doctor.
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we are asked when it comes to teething:
- My baby has swollen gums. When will the teeth start to show?
If your baby’s gums are swollen and you can feel a tooth beginning to erupt underneath, it is most likely normal swelling and it should go down after the tooth cuts through. Symptoms such as swollen gums may occur around 4 days before the tooth actually emerges. If you are concerned, speak to your doctor.
- How long does it take for the first tooth to come out?
There is no exact answer as to how long it takes for the first tooth to cut through, however, estimates are that teething can occur over an 8 day period. Symptoms may begin to occur around 4 days before a tooth begins to erupt. However, this can vary from child to child and the tooth may take longer or shorter than this time to erupt. Sometimes babies can grow multiple teeth at once, so it may seem like teething is taking a lot longer.
- My baby is drooling and chewing on things, does this mean he/she is teething?
Drooling and chewing on hands and objects is normal behaviour as your baby grows and may not necessarily mean that your child is teething. However, if drooling is accompanied by other common teething symptoms and you can actually see or feel the emerging tooth, this may mean your child is teething.
- Does teething cause a fever?
No, teething shouldn’t cause a fever. The reason that fever is so commonly attributed to teething is due to the fact that the start of the teething period (generally around 6 months of age) coincides with the time that babies start to get more infections, as there is a decrease in antibodies that they receive from their mother. If your child has a fever, contact your healthcare professional.
- Is teething causing my baby to wake up during the night?
There is conflicting evidence as to whether teething causes sleep disturbances. The pain and discomfort resulting from teething could lead to periods of wakefulness during the night. However, if your baby doesn’t appear affected by teething discomfort during the day, the wakefulness at night may not be the result of teething. Speak with your doctor if your baby is experiencing extended periods of wakefulness during the night.
- Can teething cause a loss in appetite?
Your child’s gums will become sore and inflamed as a tooth pushes through, which can make your baby’s mouth start to hurt. This discomfort may turn your baby off eating. However, some babies may find that the counter-pressure from food feels good on their gums and this may make them want to eat more.
- Does teething pain last for extended periods of time before a tooth appears?
- Teething only causes irritation around the time your baby’s tooth is about to break through the gum. The teething period generally lasts for about around 8 days, so longer periods of discomfort (commonly associated with teething) may be caused by something else.
- It should also be remembered that your baby has 20 milk teeth that will emerge over 2 years, and these will all cut through at different times, which may make it seem like the pain and irritability can last for months.
- Can teething cause diarrhea?
There is no evidence of an association between teething and problems with the digestive system. The most likely reason is that teething children are prone to pick up and chew on bacteria-ridden objects that ultimately cause diarrhea. Remember, the teething phase coincides with the time period that babies are most susceptible to infections. If your little one has diarrhea, always seek medical advice.
Looking after baby’s new teeth
Even before you can see your baby’s first tooth it’s a good idea to get into the habit of wiping their gums with gauze or a soft wet washcloth during bath time. The easiest way to wipe your baby’s gums is to wrap the gauze or washcloth around your index finger and rub gently over their gums. Getting your baby used to having their mouth cleaned as part of their daily routine should make it easier to transition into tooth brushing later on, too.
Once teeth start appearing, a soft toothbrush suitable for children can be used. Gently brush on the inside and outside of each of your baby’s teeth twice a day. Try not to use toothpaste until your child is 18 months old. When your child is ready to start using toothpaste, a small pea-sized amount is all you need and be sure to use a toothpaste made specifically for toddlers. Replace the toothbrush as soon as the bristles start to look worn or splayed.
When teeth start appearing (or by the time your child is 12 months old) is the perfect time to visit a dentist. They can also provide further assistance on teething and caring for your child’s new pearly whites.
The appearance of your baby’s first teeth may be a painful experience, but it is also a momentous time. Your teething baby will need plenty of extra love and lots of cuddles as their new pearly whites push through their little gums.
Remember, if you’re concerned about your toddler’s teeth, see your dentist.
Suggestions from the Bellamy’s community
Here are some suggestions from members of the Bellamy’s community on how to treat teething:
- I place a clean face washer in the freezer and then let my little one chew on it all day. It cools his gums and catches his dribble. Ireena K.
- Frozen peas, my kids loved them and still ask for a bowl of frozen peas! Nicole C.
- Frozen face washer does the trick. Mel T
- Bite valve on my Camelbak water bottle. Favourite teething toy. Tory W.
- A cold leek to chew on. Kelly S.
- Rub the gum above the emerging tooth with your finger. Rub often and with pressure. Babes love it and the tooth comes quicker. Natalie C.
- Sticks of carrot or cucumber. Kali L.
- Watermelon or strawberries. Susanne L.
-I make ‘breastmilk dummicicles’ for my little one using his dummy. I also offer him frozen fruits like frozen banana or frozen durian to nibble on. Rachel C.
- Try Bellamy’s Organic Milk Rusks to help relieve the pain of teething. Suitable from the age of 6 months, our organic milk rusks are a great alternative to teething rings as they are made from certified organic ingredients of wheat and milk, with no added sugars. So not only are they a great way to bring your baby’s gums extra relief during the teething period, but they are also a great snack for your bub!
Customer testimonials from Facebook:
- Our little boy loves the Bellamy Organic Milk Rusks thankfully we don’t have any allergy issues and he goes to town on them every day They’re easy to pack and carry around in the pram, car, nappy bag, etc so we always have them on hand And we’re now finding the remnants under chairs, wrapped in blankets and in with the teddies and toys love our little man and watching him grow is a delight especially knowing we have good quality products to offer him – Emma G.
- My little girl loves them so much she gets excited when you get one out. Her little chompers came through easy – Amelia B.
- They were great all my kids used them – Ellen F.
- With my first little boy, we use to call them ‘super sticks’ – always saved the day Hev J.