Getting teeth is a big milestone in your baby’s life and it’s exciting to see those teeny tiny pearly whites pop up one-by-one. You’ll be reaching for the camera because those bottom pegs are so cute.
Of course, the whole teething thing may not be much fun for bub. Gums get a real workout with teeth coming through and posing for happy snaps may not be your tiny tooth model’s first priority.
To help your baby (and you) get through this often trying time, here are some ways to spot the signs of teething, soothe sore gums and care for brand-new baby teeth.
Bub will be flashing those chompers in no time. Say “rusk”.
It’s teething time!
Some babies start teething early and some later, but for most bubs, teething starts when they’re four to seven-months-old.
The first teeth to show up are usually the front two bottom teeth (our favourites!), often followed by some front top teeth, more bottom teeth, then molars and eyeteeth (the pointy ones). You can see the typical order in this charmingly titled ‘eruption chart’ above.
Most kids have all 20 baby teeth by the time they’re three (just in time to act like a toothy T-Rex). If there’s no sign of a tooth by the time your tot is 18 months, then it’s best to have a chat with your dentist.
Some of the signs
Some babies get lucky and have very few teething symptoms, but for most, the whole ‘teeth poking through gums’ thing does cause some discomfort.
If your baby is drooling like a St Bernard and trying to chew, bite and suck on everything, then there’s a fair chance they are teething.
Crankiness, crying, disrupted sleep, flushed cheeks, swollen gums, face-rubbing, ear-grabbing and being off their food might also be teething symptoms.
If you’re seeing a combination of these then you may have a teether on your hands. And if you can see or feel a little tooth under the gum, then it’s official!
Once your bub is in the teething territory, symptoms can last a few days (when the new tooth is coming through) or for several months (if lots of teeth pop out at once).
This can leave your little one feeling out of sorts, but there are ways you can soothe their gums and help them through these growing pains.
One trick is to gently rub your finger along their gums to ease the pain. Just make sure your finger is clean and then let the counter-pressure do its magic!
While we’re on the topic of counter-pressure, a teething rusk is a great thing for older bubs to suck and gnaw on as teeth make their grand entrance.
Bub may have lost their appetite (what with those swollen gums), but if they’re on solids, it can also help to mush and chill some food.
This will cool their gums and fill their tum at the same time. Sucking cold water from a sippy cup can also help soothe older babies’ mouths.
A fabric plush is comforting to suck on and we love this munchy, scrunchy bunny ears teether from The Poppet Project ($15). Alternatively, soak a washcloth in water or breastmilk, chill it, and then give bub a chew.
The best thing about this remedy is that bub can chew while Mum accessorises! Get baby’s chompers (or lack thereof) around this silicone teething necklace from Beads for Baby Co ($14).
Little hands love holding teething rings, and little gums love biting down on them. Choose a silicone teething ring (chilled in the fridge) or try a wooden ring like this cute one from Finch and Folk ($25.95).
Sometimes a change of scene is the best remedy, and a stroll through the park or a warm, splashy bath can take bub’s mind off those terrible teeth. Bubbles cure everything!
Pain relief products
If your baby is really suffering, then speak to your doctor or pharmacist about the pain relief medicine they recommend.
Brush up on brushing!
As soon as your bub has teeth, they need to be cleaned morning and night. At first, wrap a clean, damp washcloth around your finger and wipe each baby tooth.
Once bub is used to that, use a small, soft toothbrush to gently clean their pegs. Toothpaste isn’t recommended until they’re 18-months-old, so just use water to start with. (via Raising Children).
With a little care, those baby teeth will be sparkly white for the photos (and in tip-top condition for the Tooth Fairy). Chompalicious!
Read next …
If your bub is teething you may find these next few articles helpful:
- 26 baby teething toys that soothe sore gums
- Q&A Does Teething Cause a Fever?
- Amber teething necklaces, do they work?