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Teething in Children

Teething baby

Parents always get excited about the development of their little ones – from their first step, to saying their first word, and even seeing their first milk tooth. However, unlike walking and talking, which you can teach your child, teething is not something you really have complete control over.

Generally, teething causes discomfort to the child, which leads to crankiness, appetite loss, sleeplessness and plenty of crying.

When Does Teething Start?

On average, teething begins at around three months until 24 months (2 years) of age. It is also possible for the symptoms of teething to begin early, but the tooth does not cut through the gums until a few months later. For instance, there are cases when a baby has symptoms of teething at three months, but the tooth does not appear until he is seven months.

Signs and Symptoms of Teething

  • Swollen gums

As the primary teeth begin to add pressure to the gums, the gums become swollen. Aside from the gums turning red, babies also tend to cry more because of the pain. The degree of pain and discomfort can also vary depending on the tooth that is about to erupt. When their molars are about to come out, babies may be crankier due to the increased pain.

There may also be bleeding under the gums, which may look blue. However, this usually goes away on its own, or you can use a clean, cool wash cloth on the gums for relief.

  • Increased drooling

It is normal for your baby to drool, but during the teething period, drooling becomes more consistent. This can also lead to the development of face rash or chapped skin around your baby’s mouth.

  • Urgency to rub gums, bite, chew or suck more than usual

Because of the discomfort inside the mouth, the child has the tendency to relieve the pain and discomfort by placing counter-pressure on the gums. Biting, chewing and sucking are all effective, so you’ll most likely be seeing your baby placing anything their hands can grab into their mouth.

  • Rubbing their ear or cheek

When babies feel pain in their gums, they can also feel this on their cheek and ear because of the nerves connecting to these areas to the gums. The side where they feel the discomfort is the same side of the cheek or ear that they will be pulling or rubbing.

  • Restlessness at night

During the day, there are more distractions, so the symptoms of teething may go unnoticed in your child. But at night when there are fewer things to do, the discomfort may become more obvious, causing them restlessness.

  • Refusal to be fed

The discomfort of teething may also end up in your child refusing to be fed. Whilst they like the feeling of having something in their mouths and against the gums for relief, the suction due to the feeding can actually add up to the pain.

Will teething cause fever?

Teething can sometimes cause low fever, possibly because of the inflammation. It typically goes away after a day or two, but if it lasts longer than three days, or the fever is high, you should call your paediatrician.

Is diarrhoea part of the symptoms?

Loose stools can occur because of the amount of fluid your baby swallows. However, the diarrhoea should not be in excessive amounts and persistent over a period of time as this will cause the baby to become dehydrated. If the loose stools are excessive, you should seek medical assistance.

Can teething cause a runny nose?

Whilst it is not clear whether teething can directly cause a runny nose or not (and doctors normally say it doesn’t), some parents report that their child has experienced a runny nose during their teething stage. The time of teething may also coincide with the period when the maternal passive immunity of the child slowly decreases, making the babies more prone to allergies, viruses or infections that can cause illnesses, such as the common cold.

Teething Pain Relief

There are several ways you can help ease the pain of teething in children. Over the counter medication, such as teething gel and pain killers, can be given to the child. For medications, make sure you follow the dose indicated for children.

With your clean hand, you can also gently massage their gums and apply counter-pressure. Using a cold, clean wash cloth can also help. In addition, you can give them ice pops and teething cookies that they can both enjoy and get relief from.

Which Tooth Comes First?

When your baby is teething, you may notice cysts forming on the top of their gums. This is just normal as the cyst will break as the tooth erupts.

Teeth Child’s Age
Central Incisors

6 to 12 months

Lateral Incisors 9 to 16 months
First Molars 13 to 19 months
Canine Teeth 16 to 23 months
Second Molars 22 to 24 months

(Image from:

The first set of teeth of a human is called the deciduous teeth, or more commonly known as the milk teeth. At around the age of 6, these will begin to fall out and be replaced with permanent teeth. But whether it is the milk or permanent teeth, it is important to pay attention to healthy teeth development.

When to Visit Your Paediatrician

If the symptoms do not improve, or there are other symptoms that are not linked to teething, you should talk to your paediatrician. Remember that the crankiness of the child and the signs and symptoms of teething usually come and go. So if the symptoms are consistent or worsen, they could be related to a different condition that requires medical help.

Moreover, if your child still doesn’t have a tooth at 15 to 18 months, you should see your paediatrician.


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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


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