What are the signs of teething in babies?

What are the signs of teething in babies?


Teething is a natural developmental milestone every baby goes through. Still, as a parent, it can be challenging to recognize the signs and help your little one cope with any discomfort.

In this blog post, we'll explore the common teething symptoms and debunk some myths surrounding infant teething. We'll also provide practical tips to help you support your child during this challenging time.

Key Takeaways

  • Teething typically starts around six months old but can begin as early as three or as late as 12 months. The first teeth to emerge are usually the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors.
  • Signs of baby teething include excessive drooling, irritability, biting on objects, disrupted sleep patterns, swollen or tender gums, and increased ear pulling or cheek rubbing.
  • Coping with teething involves offering cold teething toys or washcloths for relief, gently massaging baby's gums with clean fingers or a damp cloth, and using teething gels or medication (with doctor's approval). It is essential to contact a doctor if abnormal symptoms occur during the teething process.

Understanding Teething In Babies

Babies' teeth typically start around six months old but can begin as early as three months or as late as 12 months.

When Does Teething Start?

Teething in babies usually kicks off around the age of six months, although it's not unusual for some little ones to start as early as three months or as late as 12 months.

It's important to remember that every baby is unique, and their teething timeline may differ from others.

Since predicting the exact time frame for teething can be challenging, parents should look for signs that their baby is going through this developmental milestone. For example, increased droolingfussiness, and a slight change in sleep patterns could signal an impending tooth eruption.

How Long Does Teething Last?

Teething can last a few months to a couple of years, depending on how quickly your baby's teeth come in. Most babies start teething around six months and usually have all their primary teeth by age three.

The timing can vary widely, though, with some infants getting their first tooth as early as three or four months old and others not until twelve months or more. It's important to remember that teething is different for every baby.

Some may experience mild symptoms, while others may be more fussy and irritable.

Signs And Symptoms Of Teething

Babies can exhibit many signs and symptoms when teething, including excessive drooling, irritability, gnawing on objects, disrupted sleep patterns, swollen or tender gums and increased ear pulling or cheek rubbing - read on to learn more about coping with teething.

Excessive Drooling

One common sign of teething in babies is excessive drooling. You may notice your little one producing more saliva than usual and constantly wiping or spitting it out.

This happens because as the teeth push through the gums, they cause irritation and inflammation, which triggers extra saliva production.

Excessive drooling can also lead to skin rashes around the mouth, chin, and neck.

It's important to note that not all babies will experience excessive drooling during teething. Some may have fewer symptoms, while others might show multiple signs simultaneously.

Fussiness And Irritability

Babies who are teething can feel uncomfortable and irritable. The sensation of a new tooth pushing through the gums can be painful and frustrating for them, which causes fussiness and irritability.

Your baby may become clingier than usual, cry more often, or have trouble sleeping through the night. It's essential to provide comfort and soothe your little one during this stage by offering extra cuddles or teething toys they can safely gnaw on.

Teething discomfort may also cause drooling or a mild fever in some babies. However, suppose your baby's temperature rises above 101F or has other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and irritability due to teething pain. In that case, it's time to contact a doctor to rule out serious illnesses.

Gnawing Or Biting On Objects

Another common sign of baby teething is their instinct to gnaw or bite on objects. This could include anything from toys and pacifiers to household items like the table's edge or your fingers.

Parents should ensure that any objects their baby chews on are clean and safe for them to use, as they may be putting themselves at risk if they chew on something unsanitary or hazardous.

Disrupted Sleep Patterns

Teething can cause significant disruptions to your baby's sleep, which can be a challenging experience for both parents and babies. The discomfort from swelling and soreness in the gums often results in wakefulness throughout the night or erratic sleep patterns.

This is because teething pain tends to worsen at night when fewer distractions make it difficult for your baby to settle down and fall asleep. Additionally, increased drooling during this time may lead to rashes around their mouth or chin area, further adding to their discomfort.

To soothe your little one's aching gums, provide them with cold teething toys or gently massage them with a clean finger or damp cloth.

Swollen Or Tender Gums

One of the most common signs that your baby is teething is swollen or tender gums. Teeth start to push their way through the gum line during the teething process, which can cause discomfort and inflammation in the gums.

You may notice that your baby's gums look red or puffy in areas where teeth are starting to emerge.

To help soothe sore and swollen gums, gently rub them with a clean finger, a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad. Applying gentle pressure can help alleviate some of the pain and tenderness associated with teething.

Additionally, providing cold teething toys or washcloths for your baby to chew on can relieve by numbing sensitive areas of the mouth and helping massage inflamed gums.

Increased Ear Pulling Or Cheek Rubbing

It could be a sign of teething if you notice your baby constantly pulling on their ears or rubbing their cheeks. This behaviour is caused by jaw discomfort radiating to other parts of the face and ears.

The pressure from the tooth trying to come through can cause soreness and irritation in these areas. So, if you see your little one tugging at their ears or rubbing their cheeks more than usual, they're likely experiencing some teething discomfort.

Coping With Teething

Offer cold teething toys or washcloths to help soothe baby's sore gums. Massage baby's gums gently with a clean finger or provide teething gels (with doctor's approval) for relief.

Offer Cold Teething Toys Or Washcloths

Babies experiencing teething discomfort can benefit from cold objects to help soothe their sore gums. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Cold teething toys, like rings or keys explicitly made for teething babies, can be placed in the fridge or freezer for added relief. The coldness will help numb your baby's gums and ease any discomfort.
  • Wet washcloths chilled in the refrigerator can also be a great option. Encourage your baby to chew and suck on the cloth for added comfort.
  • You can also try freezing breastmilk or formula in an ice cube tray and then placing the cubes in a mesh feeder for your baby to suck on. This will provide relief and help hydrate them during this time.

Remember always to supervise your baby while they use these items and discard any toys that show signs of wear and tear.

Massage Baby's Gums

Rubbing or massaging your baby's gums can provide comfort and relief during teething. The pressure from a gentle massage can help ease the soreness and discomfort caused by erupting teeth.

Use your finger to rub their gums in circular motions with clean hands gently.

A recent study on 150 babies revealed that rubbing the gums of a teething baby helps soothe them and reduces irritability, drooling, restlessness and crying associated with teething pains [FACT #10].

However, be careful not to apply too much pressure as this may aggravate their tender gums [FACT #5]. If your baby seems uncomfortable or distressed during the massage, you may want to stop and try other soothing methods instead [FACT #4].

Use Teething Gels Or Medication (with Doctor's Approval)

If your baby is still experiencing discomfort from teething despite all other remedies, consider using a teething gel or medication.

These are readily available at most drugstores and can be applied directly to the gums for immediate relief of pain and discomfort. However, it's important to note that medication use should always be with your doctor's approval first.

Additionally, some medicines like benzocaine or lidocaine (common ingredients in teething gels) can have side effects such as allergic reactions or numbness if used excessively.

It's also worth noting that not all babies respond well to medication for teething pain relief.

Provide Comfort And Soothing Measures

Teething can be a challenging time for both parents and babies. Here are some ways to provide comfort and palliative measures:

  1. Offer teething toys or washcloths chilled in the refrigerator and not frozen.
  2. Massage baby's gums gently with a clean finger or use a damp gauze pad.
  3. Use teething gels or medications (with your doctor's approval) to ease discomfort and pain.
  4. Try providing additional comfort through rocking, holding, or cuddling your little one.
  5. Distraction techniques such as playing games, reading books, and singing lullabies can also help soothe your baby during teething.

Remember that each baby is unique- what works for one may not work for another! It's all about finding out what works best for your little one and providing them with plenty of love and care during this time.

When To Contact A Doctor

If your baby is experiencing a high fever, delayed tooth development or unusual symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, it's essential to contact your doctor.

High Fever Or Other Symptoms Present

If your baby has a high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or teething symptoms, it is essential to contact your doctor. While low-grade fevers and mild discomfort are common during teething, more severe symptoms could indicate an underlying illness.

It is also important to note that not all symptoms may be related to teething, as many other illnesses can affect babies simultaneously.

Always trust your instincts and seek medical attention if concerned about your baby's health.

Delayed Or Abnormal Tooth Development

It's important to note that teething is a natural process, and the timing of when it happens can vary from baby to baby. However, if your little one hasn't shown any signs of tooth development by their first birthday, it's worth speaking with your doctor or pediatric dentist about a potential delay in the eruption of teeth.

Similarly, if your child has abnormal tooth development - such as misshapen or discoloured teeth - it may be time to schedule an appointment with a dental professional.

Unusual Symptoms Like Vomiting Or Diarrhea

While mild symptoms like fussiness, drooling, or gnawing are common during teething, parents should look out for unusual signs that could result from other illnesses.

Vomiting or diarrhea is not a typical sign of teething and may indicate an infection or another medical issue. It's crucial to contact your doctor if these symptoms appear alongside any teething characteristics, as they could signal something more serious.

Common Myths About Teething

Teething does not cause serious illness, and fever and diarrhea are not caused by teething.

Teething Does Not Cause Serious Illness

Contrary to popular belief, teething does not cause serious illness in babies. While some parents may attribute their baby's fever or diarrhea to teething, these symptoms are not directly caused by the teething process.

However, it is common for babies to experience a mild temperature of less than 38C during teething. Additionally, while drooling and gnawing are typical signs of teething, they can lead to skin rashes or irritation around the mouth if not kept dry.

Fever And Diarrhea Are Not Caused By Teething

It's a common misconception that teething can cause fever and diarrhea in babies. However, research has shown that the teething process does not directly cause these symptoms but may be related to other factors like infections or allergies.

On average, a baby may experience a mild temperature of less than 38C during teething. If your child develops a high fever or persistent diarrhea, it is crucial to seek medical attention, as these could be signs of an underlying illness.


In conclusion, teething is a normal part of a baby's development that can cause discomfort and fussiness. Signs of teething include:

  • Excessive drooling.
  • Gnawing or biting on objects.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns.
  • Swollen or tender gums.

Coping with teething can involve comfort measures like offering cold toys or medication (with the doctor's approval). It's essential to contact a doctor if your baby has abnormal symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea during the teething process.


1. What are the common signs of teething in babies?

Common signs of teething in babies include:

  • Drooling, fussiness and irritability.
  • Swollen gums.
  • Biting or chewing on objects and changes in sleep patterns.

2. When do most babies start teething?

Babies typically begin to have teeth between 4-6 months old, but it is not uncommon for some infants to experience it earlier or later than this time frame.

3. How can I help soothe my baby's discomfort during teething?

Offering cold and safe chewable toys like rubber rings or silicone teethers can help provide relief and gum massages with a clean fingertip. Over-the-counter pain relievers explicitly designed for infants could also be used under medical supervision.

4. Are there any symptoms that may indicate something other than teething?

Some symptoms, such as high fever, diarrhea or vomiting, may indicate another underlying health concern unrelated to the teething process. If you suspect anything out of the ordinary, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician immediately so they can perform a thorough examination & diagnose any potential issues accordingly.

Source URLs








Back to blog