Teething: What you need to know

I have a three month old who keeps her fist in her mouth all the time and chews on it and drools until she soaks every outfit. When do babies start teething and what are the signs?


The first primary teeth to erupt in the mouth are generally the lower central incisors (lower front teeth). These erupt at about the age of six months, although this is only an average age. Some erupt sooner and some later. Occasionally, a baby may actually be born with a primary tooth, which has already erupted into the oral cavity!

Following are some common signs and symptoms of teething:

Swelling. The first sign of tooth eruption is generally a swelling of the gum tissue, which overlies the erupting tooth. Sometimes this swelling is accompanied by a bluish coloration, known as an eruption hemotoma. It is caused by bleeding in the soft tissues in the area of tooth eruption. The eruption hemotoma resolves on its own and normally does not require any treatment.

Flushing or rash. A flushing or rash may appear in the cheek next to the area of eruption.

Drooling. Children who are teething generally have an increased flow of saliva which can cause excessive drooling.

Crankiness. Babies can also be cranky and irritable, causing loss of sleep.

You can help soothe teething pain in a number of ways:

  • Biting hard objects, such as teething rings, can provide some comfort to the child during the teething process.
  • Cold. A frozen banana or popsicle may also soothe the gums during teething.
  • Numbing. Teething gels like Baby Orajel or Baby Ambesol, can be applied. Some of these gels contain sugar so they should be used judiciously.
  • Baby ibuprofen. This analgesic can be given to your baby during a particularly difficult episode.

I have heard conflicting reports regarding fever and diarrhea and their association with teething. Some reports have stated that a slight fever and diarrhea can be occur during teething, while others have stated that these symptoms are not correlated with teething. There are some reports that state a runny nose may also be a symptom of teething. However, a cough, stuffy nose, high fever, sneezing, and wheezing are not indicators of the tooth eruption process! It is possible that your daughter has bronchitis and, coincidentally, is also teething.


Watch Video: Baby's First Check Up

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