Baby Teething

When Do Babies Start Teething?

Teething commonly starts between four and 10 months of age.i, iii Teething can be uncomfortable or painful for some babies, although some may suffer little or no discomfort.iii Though this can be a worrying time for parents, knowing the most common baby teething symptoms will help you identify when your baby is teething and how to help manage it.

What Causes Teething?

Teeth begin forming in the gums before your baby is born. Teething is the process in which the first set of teeth, called primary teeth or milk teeth, ‘erupt’ and break through the gums.iv

1. Central Incisor

8-12 months

2. Lateral Incisor

8-12 months

3. Canine

16-22 months

4. First Molar

13-19 months

5. Second Molar

25-33 months

6. Molar

23-31 months

7. Molar

14-18 months

8. Canine

17-23 months

9. Incisor

10-16 months

10. Incisor

6-10 months

When Does Teething Start and End?

It’s important to remember that teething does not start at the same time for all babies – they all develop differently. The development of your baby’s primary teeth begins while they are still inside the womb. At birth, your baby will already have a full set of 20 primary teeth (10 in the upper and 10 in the lower jaw) hiding within their gums. Primary teeth are also known as baby teeth, milk teeth or deciduous teeth.iv

The teething process typically starts with the bottom middle teeth, followed by the top two middle ones, and then those along the sides and back.i, ii Many babies can start teething at just six months of age, with all 20 baby teeth fully developing by the time they are two or three years old.ii But if your baby’s teeth do come through at different times, there’s no need to worry.iii

Can Teething Cause Fever?

There is no clear evidence to suggest that teething causes fever or diarrhoea.v If your baby is experiencing these symptoms, it is more likely that they are suffering from a different illness. If your baby does have any worrisome symptoms or a temperature over 38°C, you should always contact your doctor.vi

What Are the Symptoms of Teething?

Teething can take up to eight days in total, which includes four days before and three days after the tooth pushes through the gum. During this process, you may see what is known an eruption cyst, which is marked by a blue or grey coloured bubble on your baby’s gums. This is nothing to worry about and will usually disappear on its own. Teething generally causes the most pain and discomfort at this time.vii

Here are a few teething symptoms you may notice:viii

  • Soreness or redness on the gum where the tooth is coming through.
  • Flushed cheek(s) where teeth are coming through.
  • Your child rubbing their ear.
  • Your child dribbling more than usual.
  • Your child gnawing and chewing on things a lot.
  • Your child being more fretful than usual.

Relief for Teething Babies

While teething can cause discomfort for your baby – and also be distressing for you – there are lots of ways to offer some relief.iii, iv

  • Offer your child a cooled (not frozen) teething ring or dummy.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and gently massage your baby’s sore gums (or use a cool, wet flannel).
  • If your baby has started on solid foods, chewing on a sugar-free teething biscuit or rusk – or small pieces of raw vegetables or fruit – may offer some relief. Make sure you are nearby to watch them, as these items may be a choking hazard.ix
  • Comforting or playing with your baby can also help to distract them from the pain.ix

If the above remedies are not easing your baby’s pain, consider administering a paracetamol-based medicine, such as Panadol, as directed for their age.iv, ix Always match your child’s age and weight to the corresponding dose on the label.

Children’s Panadol is ideal for the temporary relief of pain and fever in children. It is also gentle on little tummies. Children’s Panadol is available in a variety of formulations for babies aged one month onwards including baby drops, suspensions, suppositories and tablets.

What Not to Do When Your Baby is Teething

There are a few things to avoid in the way of relieving your baby’s teething symptoms, including:iii

  • Teething gels: These can harm your baby if they ingest too much.
  • Amber teething beads: They can break apart and pose a choking hazard.
  • Homeopathic teething tablets: In some cases these have been linked to baby deaths.

How Long Do Baby Teeth Last?

The average child has their full set of 20 primary teeth by the age of two or three years.ii, iii Baby teeth start to become wobbly and generally fall out at the age of six or seven years. The first teeth to fall out are usually located in the front of the lower or upper jaw.ii

Why First Teeth Are Important

Emerging baby teeth need to be looked after as carefully as we look after our teeth.

As well as being essential for chewing and speaking, primary or milk teeth aid the normal development of facial bones and muscles and provide space for the permanent teeth.x

Tips for Caring for Baby’s Teethiii

  • Be sure to look out for your baby’s gums even before teeth begin to break through. You can do this by wiping them gently with a damp cloth twice a day.
  • Continue cleaning teeth with a damp cloth twice a day as soon as teeth start to appear.
  • Progress to a small, soft bristle toothbrush for babies, brushing only with water, when your baby is ready. Make sure you clean their teeth and gums with soft, circular movements.
  • You can introduce a low fluoride children’s toothpaste when your baby is 18 months old.
  • Sugar causes tooth decay, so avoid sugary drinks and do not let them fall asleep with a bottle.

Your baby will be ready for their first visit to the dentist at around 12 months, or when their first teeth come through – whichever happens first. 

SOURCES

Clicking any of the links below takes you to an external website that is independently operated and not managed by GSK. GSK assumes no responsibility for the content on the website. If you do not wish to leave this website, do not click on the links below.

i. Babies. Australian Dental Association. https://www.ada.org.au/Your-Dental-Health/Children-0-11/Babies. Accessed 15/10/2019.

ii. Teething chart: When the teeth come marching in. Australian Dental Association. https://www.ada.org.au/getattachment/Your-Dental-Health/Resources-for-Professionals/Resources-for-Children-0-11/When-the-teeth-come-marching-in-teething-chart/When-the-teeth-come-marching-in,-teething-chart.pdf.aspx. Accessed 20/02/20.  

iii. Teething. Pregnancy Birth and Baby. https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/teething. Accessed 02/05/2020.

iv. Teeth Development in Children. Better Health Channel. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/teeth-development-in-children. Accessed 16/10/2019.

v. Baby Teething Symptoms. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/teething-and-tooth-care/. Accessed 25/09/2019.

vi. Fever in children. The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Fever_in_children/. Accessed 20/02/20.

vii. Teeth Development in Children. Better Health Channel. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/teeth-development-in-children. Accessed 05/02/2020.

viii. Teething Symptoms. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/teething-and-tooth-care/. Accessed 12/11/2019.

ix. Tips for helping your teething baby. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/teething-tips/. Accessed 20/02/20.

x. Why is it important to fix baby teeth? Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentistry. https://www.aapd.org.au/post/Why-it-is-important-to-fix-baby-teeth#.XfEYFlf7Q2w. Accessed 12/11/2019.

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