Baby’s First Tooth – Symptoms of Baby Teething

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Baby’s First Tooth – Symptoms of Baby Teething

Teething shows a baby is growing and developing. It should be a happy time for mothers and caregivers, but oftentimes it is a time for frustration.

When the baby teeth start coming out, there are some signs and symptoms that come with the first tooth that might be confused for an illness.

If you cannot tell that your baby is teething, you might have a rough time getting them over-the-counter medication, thinking they have a medical problem.

symptoms and solutions when teething, baby teething baby's first tooth

So, how do you know when a baby is teething?

Even when you do not know the signs of teething, you need to know that your baby will probably start teething at six months.

At this point, the immune system of the baby is also at risk seeing that the immunity they received from the mother through the placenta is wearing off.

This means that, besides the baby teething symptoms showing up, the baby is also building its immune system.

At this period, therefore, the baby becomes susceptible to certain illnesses.

Because these two changes take place concurrently, teething symptoms are often confused with minor ailments such as a cold.

Only about 70-80% of parents report teething symptoms – the rest confuse the symptoms for minor illnesses.

This article explains the signs of teething and how to soothe your baby when it starts to teeth. 

When Do Baby Teeth Come Out?

Teething symptoms are seen as early as when a baby is four months and can last through ten months. However, the baby teeth start to appear at six months.

According to dentists, teething patterns are seen in different families where there are early, average, and later teethers. 

In rare cases, the baby has a tooth on the day of birth. This condition referred to as “natal” teeth, only occur in one or 2000-3000 babies.

The natal teeth condition is just a unique event that is seen in an otherwise healthy child. However, the presence of a natal tooth might indicate a syndrome if the baby shows other physical problems.

If there are other physical issues with the baby, a pediatrician’s help should be sought. This tooth is usually loose and needs to be removed before the baby is discharged from the hospital to prevent aspiration in the lungs. 

Teething Symptoms

The baby teething symptoms are a result of gum and jaw discomfort brought about by the baby teeth preparation to burst out of the gums.

As a tooth gets ready to break out of the gum, you will see the gum turning slightly red and swollen.

At times, you might notice a fluid-filled area over the tooth that is coming out. Some teeth cause more discomfort than others.

In the same way, teenagers feel when the larger molars erupt through the gums, some baby teeth come up with so much discomfort and pain. 

Some common teething symptoms include:

  • More drooling than normal
  • Gum discomfort makes the baby restless and sleepless
  • Baby refuses to feed because the gum region is sore
  • Fussiness that may be a result of painful gums
  • Baby wants to rub the gums all the time
  • Mild rash around baby’s mouth as a result of skin irritation
  • Baby strokes their cheek and ear region as a sign of referred pain as the molars erupt

How Do You Know a Baby Is Teething?

Because teething can be associated with other illnesses such as cold, it is advisable to observe the baby for all signs and symptoms.

Again, if you suspect an illness, you need to take the baby to a pediatrician for a checkup. If your baby is having any of the following symptoms, seek the help of a doctor:

  • Fever, especially that which exceeds 101F
  • Prolonged fussiness
  • Diarrhea, coughing, and running nose
  • Rashes that cover all the body

Again, if the symptoms of teething continue after a year or when the baby has grown all teeth, you need to consult a doctor. 

How to Comfort Your Baby After Noticing Signs of Teething

Among all the development stages that your baby will go through, teething is one of the least pleasant – your baby will fuss all the time, and you will need to stay there and soothe them.

Symptoms vary from one baby to the next – as such, stay vigilant, so you do not confuse teeth symptoms to something else. For any of the above signs, you can soothe the baby through:

Teething Gels

 Most teething gels are sugar-free, and they help relieve some of the teething pain. The only disadvantage with these gels is that they are washed off the baby’s mouth fast.

Always consult the baby’s pediatrician before using these gels. Again, you need to avoid over-the-counter teething gels, especially the ones that contain the ingredient benzocaine. 

Massage the Gums

You need to lightly massage the baby’s gums gently and let the baby gnaw at your finger while at it.

If done before the baby starts nursing, it helps them not to bite your nipple. When massaging, dip your finger in cold water.

Give the Baby Cold Food

Cold numbs the gums of the baby, reducing pain. You can also give them a cold spoon, a chilled pacifier, a clean wet towel, and a refrigerated toy to chew.

You can see common teething toys on NetParents. For foods, cold applesauce, yogurt, and pureed fruits are great choices.

Teething babies love to chew. You can let them chew whatever they want as long as it is safe and clean. 

Toddler Teething

When toddlers are teething, it can be a difficult and painful experience for them. Parents should provide comfort and support to help alleviate some of their discomfort. Cold items, such as a chilled washcloth or teething rings, can help reduce the swelling in infants’ gums. Parents should also give plenty of cuddles and hugs to their toddlers during this time. Additionally, it might be helpful to use over-the-counter topical pain relief on the affected area, but always consult with a pediatrician first. Having patience and understanding during this time is beneficial for both parent and baby. Check out this article for toddler teething symptoms.

Helping Your Baby When Teething

If the child is having a lot of evident pain, you can give them a pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

However, consult your pediatrician before you buy any pain medication. Teething is a rough time for the baby and the mother. However, it gets more comfortable when the first tooth pops out, and others follow.

If you can answer the question, how do you know when a baby is teething? you have learned the first lesson on how to take care of your baby when they are teething.

Avoid teething rings for babies as they dangerous and instead only consider teething toys and hard foods such as biscuits. 


Angela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in Preschool and Kindergarten teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and is passionate about kids crafts and having fun as a family. Angela has also taught cooking skills and loves to share both family recipes and easy crafts here on The Inspiration Edit. Follow her on Pinterest!

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