The need for a bib and a little more cuddling with your baby may mean that he/she has some little chompers coming in. Commonly referred to as “cutting teeth,” babies typically begin teething by the time they reach 6 months of age, although this can vary. They usually have a full mouth of baby teeth around age 2½.
The two bottom front teeth (lower central incisors) are usually the first to come in, followed soon after by the two top front teeth (upper central incisors). The rest will follow as your baby ages.
Erica Martin, M.D.
Boys Town Pediatrics
Teething usually starts around six months of age. We will see, very rarely, teething starting at four months or in-between four and six months and that's usually if a parent has had a history of early teething.
They do start drooling and putting everything in their mouth around four months but that's a developmental milestone that is normal.
So around six months you'll start to see them drooling more than they have been, putting everything in their mouth and really chewing. Usually you see the bottom two incisors erupt first or come through the gums first. They will be fussy, likely have a little higher temperature than normal. Not a fever, so we won't see anything that is 101, it will be 99 or 100.
Sometimes sleeping is affected. They don't want to eat because their gums are hurting so their appetite goes down.
I would definitely utilize pain control measures with Tylenol and Ibuprofen depending on the age. If you are 4 months you'll use the Tylenol and if you're six months and older then Ibuprofen.
You can also use cold things so they can chew on cold rings, you want it to be a solid, one piece ring, you can put a wet washcloth in the freezer and they can chew on that. You can also try to time your Ibuprofen or Tylenol to about an hour before you want to feed them a meal, so that maybe their appetite is a little bit better when it comes to drinking.
We really hesitate on recommending any of the oral gels or the teething gels because they're pretty slobber y and they won't stay where you put them and there can be some harmful side effects if they were to get too much of that.
Some kids, they'll teeth and that will be done and over with and it's a very short time. Other kids, it drags on what seems like forever, but once the tooth erupts through the gums then the pain usually starts to subside and their appetite comes back.
Classic Signs and Symptoms
Some parents say that teething can cause diarrhea and fever, but many researchers have refuted that claim. Here are some signs to help you identify when your baby is teething:
- Chewing on solid objects
- Irritability or crankiness
- Sore or tender gums
- A slight rise in body temperature (lower than 100°F).
Soothing Sore Gums
As new teeth emerge from the gum line, your baby is going to have tender gums and may fuss. Help alleviate pain by doing the following:
- Rub your baby’s gums with a clean finger or moistened gauze pad, as pressure can ease discomfort.
- Give him/her a cold washcloth, spoon or chilled teething ring to chew on.
- Try an over-the-counter remedy: if your baby is especially cranky, consider using ibuprofen (Advil, Children’s Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- The FDA recommends NOT using homeopathic gels or tablets, as they may pose health risks.
It’s also important to keep your baby’s chin dry from drool, as it may cause soreness and chafing. Use a bib or towel to wipe it dry, and use some scent-free moisturizer if the skin becomes chapped.
Dental Care for Baby Teeth
Keep your baby’s mouth clean from the get-go by rubbing a damp, clean washcloth over the gums daily as this may help keep bacteria at bay.
When the first teeth emerge, switch to a small, soft toothbrush. Until your baby learns to spit, apply a small smear of fluoride toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. You should also start thinking about scheduling regular check-ups with your dentist; at least one visit should be scheduled before the first birthday.