Help your child through the teething stage

Teething is an exciting sign your child is getting older. While it isn’t always easy for them, a little knowledge can help. This guide will help you recognize teething symptoms and provide tips for soothing your child’s pain when they’re fussy.

When babies are born, all 20 baby teeth are already developing below the gumline!

Signs your baby might be teething

Teething is when your child’s teeth begin to push through their gumline. This typically happens between 6 and 12 months, but some may start earlier. All 20 baby teeth are usually in place by age 3.

Symptoms may appear before you see an actual tooth. Signs of teething include:

  • Fussiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased drooling
  • Swollen, tender gums
  • Biting and chewing things
  • Rubbing their cheek or pulling on their ear
  • A white blister (an “eruption cyst”) on the gum where the new tooth is emerging

The signs above are normal, but teething shouldn’t lead to health risks like a high fever, diarrhea, facial rash, or other unrelated symptoms. If these develop, contact your pediatrician.

How to soothe sore gums

Each child is different, so these methods might not all work for you. But you may find a healthy way to soothe your baby’s symptoms with one of these techniques:

  • Gently massage their gums with a clean finger. 
  • Carefully apply a cold spoon or washcloth to the gums.
  • Give them a tasty frozen teething pop made from healthy ingredients.
  • Find a clean, solid rubber teething ring for them to chew on. 

If you choose to use a rubber teething ring, be careful — don’t use teething jewelry or rings made from amber, wood, or breakable material like plastic. Also, never use a teething necklace that goes around the neck or includes small items like beads, as they can be a choking hazard.

Visit with your pediatrician or dentist for other methods to relieve your child’s pain and discomfort.

Taking care of your child’s teeth

Here’s a very quick overview of how to look after your little one’s smile:

  • Before teeth come in, clean gums after feedings with a damp washcloth or gauze.
  • Once teeth start to become visible, brush daily with water, a soft toothbrush, and rice-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste. Starting at age three, begin using a pea-sized amount.
  • Take your child for a first dental visit within six months of the first tooth eruption, and no later than their first birthday. Follow your dentist’s instructions for good at-home care.

Baby teeth are important for childhood development even though they will fall out, usually starting around age 6.

Keep calm and soothe on

Concern for your child and lack of sleep are two potential problems of teething, but it is a normal part of their growth process. Soothe them as best you can and you’ll make it through this stage in no time.