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What is teething?

Teething is when your baby’s teeth start moving underneath their gums and coming through. Some people also refer to it as ‘cutting teeth’.

When will my baby start teething?

Babies usually start teething at around six months and carry on until they are about three years old. However, some babies can start teething as early as three months, and others start as late as a year. 

A baby’s physical and mental development has no connection with when they cut their first teeth. But for some reason girls usually get their teeth before boys. 

If your baby still has no teeth at 12 months, speak to your health visitor. They may just have inherited late growing teeth, but it’s best to make sure.

baby teething close up

Teething pains

Teething often causes babies discomfort, making them restless and irritable. As the roots of their teeth grow, they push the edges of the teeth through the gums. Babies usually suffer most with their first teeth as the sensation is new, and with their molars because of their size.

Signs your baby is teething

  • They have become more fussy and clingy and are crying more at night.
  • They are dribbling a lot.
  • They have an urge to bite to try to ease the pain, so they’ve started chewing on their fingers and anything else they can get hold of!
  • Their cheeks are flushed.
  • Their temperature is slightly raised (but not above 39°C, which indicates a fever).
  • Their gums are swollen and red.
  • They are demanding the breast or bottle more.
  • Or they may reject the breast or bottle because their gums hurt.
  • Their appetite is poor.
  • They aren’t sleeping well.

How to help your teething baby

  • Give them plenty of water to replace fluids lost through dribble.
  • Gently rub a teething gel or teething granules into their gums.
  • Give them a teething ring to chew on (the ones you can cool in the fridge are good).
  • Your doctor may recommend infant pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • Apply a barrier cream to their chin, neck and chest to stop them getting sore from dribbling.
  • Distract them with lots of hugs or something to play with.
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