Teething is the natural process by which the teeth of a baby appear from the gums. A baby can begin teething as early as three months, or as late as one year, but the most typical age at which teething begins is six to nine months. Little girls often tend to start teething earlier than little boys. It can still take a few years after the first tooth appears for all twenty of the baby teeth, technically know as “deciduous teeth,” to appear.
The Process of Teething
Though the process is sometimes referred to a baby “cutting teeth,” there is no cutting involved — a tooth does not cut its way through the gum. Instead, the infant’s body releases certain natural chemicals that cause gum cells to die, opening the way for a tooth to emerge. Infant’s teeth emerge in pairs, but not at the same time. One of the pair will appear and then the other, before the first tooth of the next pair begins to emerge.
Which teeth come first?
Of course all babies and infants differ, and it is impossible to say with 100% authority what teeth your baby will develop and when. However, a normal teething pattern would follow something like this:
Two lower central incisors are the first to emerge.
Two upper central incisors emerge two months later.
Two upper lateral incisors emerge four months later.
Two lower lateral incisors emerge four months later.
Four first molars emerge eight months later.
Four canines emerge ten months later.
Four second molars emerge within two or three years.
Teething Symptoms and Teething Pain
Each infant reacts differently to the pain of teething. Some babies may become more fussy when teething begins, and others may not react at all. The several days before a tooth appears are the most stressful, because the gums are swollen and sore. The child’s discomfort should disappear when the emerging tooth breaks through the skin of the gum.
Typical Teething Symptoms
The normal symptoms to notice with a teething child are:
- Swollen gums
Less common symptoms are a mild fever, sleeplessness, restless sleep or crying. A mild rash may develop around the lips because of skin irritation caused by the child’s efforts to relieve the pain. In a few very rare cases, a pocket may grow within the gums and fill with fluid – this region of the mouth may then become exceedingly sensitive. Expect more reaction from the child when the large molars start appearing, because this type of tooth cannot easily emerge in the same way an edged tooth.
How to tell if your baby is teething
Infants may show by actions how they are reacting to the onset of teething. They may chew on their toys or their fingers in an effort to alleviate the discomfort. A child who is teething may refuse to eat or drink. One common action among teething children is pulling on their ears.
These symptoms/actions are not signs of danger, but if the activity becomes persistent or intensifies, then the child should be taken to the doctor. Teething usually causes symptoms only in the gums and mouth although sometimes (and some would argue incorrectly) it is blamed for other problems, such as diarrhoea.
Dribble Bibs and Teething
A teething baby is nearly always a dribbling baby. Dribbling or drooling is simply one of the symptoms of teething. It’s not a major worry for a child but being constantly wet around the neck area, or having to wear wet clothes for long periods, will simply add to the overall discomfort of the whole teething process. And that’s exactly what dribble bibs are for – preventing any dribbling baby from becoming wet and uncomfortable. See our top choice of dribble bibs below, or use the links on the right to find dribble bibs of all kinds.