When do babies start teething?
When a baby is teething, it can be a frustrating and stressful time for both baby and parents. Teething symptoms usually begin a few days before a tooth erupts and can last for a few days afterwards too.
Some common symptoms to look out for that indicate your baby may be teething include:
- Hot, rosy cheeks
- Excessive drooling (this may also cause a rash around the chin area)
- Changes in appetite
- Chewing on toys or fingers more frequently
- Red gums
- Crying more frequently
- Gum rubbing
At what age does teething start?
Babies’ teeth, sometimes known as “milk teeth” (because they can resemble the colour of milk and are whiter than the permanent teeth that replace them), generally appear around 6 months of age. However, your baby may start teething as early as 3 months or as late as 10 months. So, you shouldn’t be concerned if your baby starts teething a little earlier or later than other babies their age.
The first baby teeth to make an appearance are usually the 2 front bottom teeth, known as the central incisors. Teething is quite a long process – taking around 33 months to complete! However, your baby won’t be cutting teeth the entire time. It’s usually the first few teeth that are a problem as your baby will start to become accustomed to the sensation of teething over time. Once they are 3 years of age, all their baby teeth should have come through.
Caring of your baby’s 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. This can help to remove any bacteria that may cause bad breath or tooth decay. 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 your baby’s teeth start to appear, you can start using a baby toothbrush. Twice a day, gently brush on the inside and outside of each of your baby’s teeth, without any toothpaste until they are 18 months old. Once they are old enough to begin using toothpaste, a small pea sized amount is all you need. Ensure you use a toothpaste that is specifically designed for babies (not children or adults) as this ensures the appropriate amount of fluoride is provided. Replace the toothbrush as soon as the bristles start to look worn or splayed.
Natural teething remedies
When babies are teething, it is a painful time for them as new teeth begin to emerge through their gums. Your baby may start chewing on things more often, both to help get the teeth through and to try to ease the discomfort. Bellamy’s Organic Milk Rusks can bring your baby’s gums extra relief during the teething months. Designed so that your baby can bite down hard without cracking or splintering the rusk, they are made from certified organic milk and wheat and contain no added sugar.
No rusks on hand? Try some of these other natural remedies!
- Rub a clean finger over baby’s gums, the pressure can help to relieve some of the pain
- Some chilled cucumber or carrot (large enough so they won’t choke), fruit puree and yoghurt can provide some relief, too
- Try refrigerating a washcloth or teething ring for baby to chew on, the cold and pressure can help with discomfort, just make sure you supervise your baby so they don’t choke
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- Ramos-Jorge J, Pordeus IA, Ramos-Jorge ML, Paiva SM. Prospective longitudinal study of signs and symptoms associated with primary tooth eruption. Pediatr. 2011 Aug 8;128(3):471-476.
- Teething chart when the teeth come marching in [Internet]. New South Wales: Australian Dental Association; c2016 [cited 2020 Sep 7]. Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/getattachment/Your-Dental-Health/Resources-for-Professionals/Resources-for-Children-0-11/When-the-teeth-come-marching-in-teething-chart/When-the-teeth-come-marching-in,-teething-chart.pdf.aspx
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- Your dental health – babies [Internet]. New South Wales: Australian Dental Association; c2020 [cited 2020 Sep 7]. Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/Your-Dental-Health/Children-0-11/Babies