When it comes to teething , all babies are different. But your baby will probably get their first tooth some time during their first year.1
Keep reading to find out tips to help your teething baby, how to spot when your baby is teething and what order your baby's teeth are likely to appear in.
Tips for helping your teething baby
- Teething rings: Teething rings give your baby something to chew safely. This may ease their discomfort and distract them from any pain. Some teething rings can be cooled first in the fridge, which may help to soothe your baby's gums. The instructions that come with the ring should tell you how long to chill it for. Never put a teething ring in the freezer, as it could damage your baby's gums if it gets frozen. Also, never tie a teething ring around your baby's neck, as it may be a choking hazard.
- Teething gels: Teething gels often contain a mild local anaesthetic, which helps to numb any pain or discomfort caused by teething. The gels may also contain antiseptic ingredients, which help to prevent infection in any sore or broken skin in your baby's mouth. Make sure you use a teething gel that's specially designed for young children and not a general oral pain relief gel, as these aren't suitable for children. Your pharmacist can advise you. It's best to talk to your pharmacist or GP before using a teething gel for babies under two months old.
- If your baby is chewing: One of the signs that your baby is teething is that they start to chew on their fingers, toys or other objects they get hold of. If your baby is six months or older, you can give them healthy things to chew on, such as raw fruit and vegetables. Pieces of apple or carrot are ideal. You could also try giving your baby a crust of bread or a breadstick. Always stay close when your baby is eating in case they choke. It's best to avoid rusks, because nearly all brands contain some sugar. Avoid any foods that contain lots of sugar, as this can cause tooth decay, even if your child only has a few teeth.
- Paracetamol and ibuprofen for teething: If your baby is in pain or has a mild raised temperature (less than 38c), you may want to give them a sugar-free painkilling medicine that is specifically for babies and young children. These contain a small dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen. Always follow the instructions that come with the medicine. If you're not sure, speak to your GP or pharmacist.
- Comforting a teething baby: Comforting or playing with your baby can distract them from any pain in their gums.
- Preventing teething rashes: If teething is making your baby dribble more than usual, gently wiping their face often may help to prevent a rash.
- Caring for your baby's new teeth: You'll need to register your baby with a dentist when their teeth start coming through – find a dentist near you. Start brushing your baby's teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as their first milk tooth breaks through.
When do babies start teething?
Some babies are born with their first teeth. Others start teething before they are four months old, and some after 12 months. But most babies start teething at around six months.
Baby teeth sometimes emerge with no pain or discomfort at all. At other times, you may notice that:
- your baby's gum is sore and red where the tooth is coming through
- one cheek is flushed
- your baby is dribbling more than usual
- they are gnawing and chewing on things a lot
- they are more fretful than usual
Some people think that teething causes other symptoms, such as diarrhoea and fever, but there's no evidence to support this.
You know your baby best. If they have any symptoms that are causing you concern, then seek medical advice.
What order do baby teeth appear in?
Here's a rough guide to how babies' teeth usually emerge:
- bottom incisors (bottom front teeth) – these are usually the first to come through, usually at around 5 to 7 months
- top incisors (top front teeth) – these tend to come through at about 6 to 8 months
- top lateral incisors (either side of the top front teeth) – these come through at around 9 to 11 months
- bottom lateral incisors (either side of the bottom front teeth) – these come through at around 10 to 12 months
- first molars (back teeth) – these come through at around 12 to 16 months
- canines (towards the back of the mouth) – these come through at around 16 to 20 months
- second molars – these come through at around 20 to 30 months
Most children will have all of their milk teeth by the time they are two and a half years old.
Teething can be distressing for some babies, but there are ways to make it easier for them.
Every baby is different, and you may have to try a few different things until you find something that works for your baby.