Teething is the process by which an infant's teeth erupt, or break through, the gums.
The onset of teething symptoms typically show before the eruption of a tooth by several days. While a baby's first tooth can appear between 4 and 10 months of age, the first tooth usually erupts at approximately 6 months of age.
Teething can be uncomfortable for some babies and may make them a bit upset and bad-tempered.
Irritability is a major symptom of teething. Expect your little one to be short-tempered and quick to cry during this period. Just like any other time when she is fussy, rocking, shushing and going for car rides can help soothe your baby. You've been warned: Lots of drooling is in store when your baby is teething.
But lots of love and a chilled teething ring to chew on should help.
Classic signs and symptoms of teething include:
- Excessive drooling
- Chewing on fingers
- Chewing on objects such as the belly bar of strollers
- Irritability or crankiness
- Sore or tender gums
- Slight increase in temperature — but no fever
As there will be a lot of drooling of saliva and chewing on hands, and saliva carries bacteria, keep their environment clean and do lots of surface sanitising with a baby-safe product
Babies also tend to bite on their stroller's crossbar because it is as high as the baby's mouth. It can be very dirty and carries bacteria. Therefore, you need to keep their cots, strollers and walkers clean with regular washing.
What's the best way to soothe sore gums?
If your teething baby seems uncomfortable, consider these simple tips:
- Rub your baby's gums. Use a clean finger or wet gauze to rub your baby's gums. The pressure can ease your baby's discomfort.
- Keep it cool. A cold spoon or chilled — not frozen — teething ring can be soothing on a baby's gums. To avoid cavities, don't dip these items in sugary substances.
- Try an over-the-counter remedy.
Things to avoid
- Teething gels, since they can harm your baby if they swallow too much of them.
- Amber teething beads, because these can break apart and your baby can choke. If you do choose to use them, always supervise your baby and remove the beads while they are sleeping.
Do I need to call the doctor?
Teething can usually be handled at home. Contact the doctor if your baby seems particularly uncomfortable or if teething seems to be interfering with his or her eating or drinking.