ABC’s of Teething

Teething is the process by which a baby’s teeth erupt, or break through the gums. Teething generally occurs between 6 to 24 months of age. Babies are born with a full set of teeth underneath their gums. During the first year of life, these teeth begin to cut through the gums.

These teeth break through the gums in stages. Typically, the classic bottom teeth — often referred to as pegs — come in first, followed by the top middle teeth. From this point on, the remaining teeth will cut through the gums for three years, some children may even get their full sets of teeth after 2 years of age.

Teething is a natural part of an infant’s growth and development. Due to the pain and discomfort, it’s easy for parents to become anxious about the process. Know that the symptoms of teething will eventually pass and that your child will one day have a healthy set of teeth thanks to your efforts to keep up with good oral hygiene. Any specific concerns or prolonged discomfort should be addressed with your child’s pediatrician or family doctor.

The symptoms aren’t the same for every baby, but they may include:

Swollen, tender gums
Fussiness and crying
A slightly raised temperature (less than 101 F)
Gnawing or wanting to chew on hard things
Lots of drool, which can cause a rash on their face
Rubbing their cheek or pulling their ear
Bringing their hands to their mouth
Changes in eating or sleeping patterns

While teething is a natural process, there are some tried and true methods to help relieve your baby’s discomfort. You can try rubbing your child’s gums with a damp washcloth, a clean finger, or a special gum-rubbing finger pad.

With time, you should begin to introduce harder foods, like cold fruit and vegetables, to your baby’s diet. This is an important milestone that can also alleviate teething discomfort. Make sure to stay with the child at all times so you can monitor their chewing and prevent choking.

During teething, a baby’s constant drooling can irritate their skin.
Use a bib to keep your baby’s chin as dry as possible.


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