Does your little gal appear to be fussy for no reason? Drooling like crazy? Won’t keep her fingers out of her mouth? You suspect before I even tell you that yes, she might be sprouting those baby teeth (scientifically known as deciduous teeth. Some people also call them milk teeth or primary teeth. We’ll stick with baby teeth here!). Teething is tough work for little babes – let’s figure out how to help them!
When do babies start teething?
For the average baby, the baby first tooth comes in about 6 months old. There’s a wide range, as with everything – some babies get their first tooth by 3 months old; others don’t until they are nearly 1 year old. Every once in awhile, you’ll even see a baby BORN with a tooth! Of course, if you’re ever wondering what’s normal, chat with the pediatrician.
Signs and symptoms of teething
- Sleepless nights
- Sore gums
- Chewing on things
- Lower appetite
- Very slight temperature increase (about 99 degrees rectally)
How long does teething last?
Our babies like to keep us on our toes, so expect each tooth and each of your babes to be different here. (And probably in all things, let’s be honest.) Some babies seem to be fussy for a couple of days, others can carry on for a couple of weeks. As far as ALL of their teeth go, expect them to have their full first set of teeth by the time they are 3 years old.
Can teething cause fever? Can teething cause diarrhea?
Teething fever and diarrhea are very common worries and beliefs but they are actually myths. The trouble is that around 6 months of age, their immunity from the womb begins to wear off and this is typically when we see them start to get sick more often. And as stated above, this is also when they begin the teething process.
There have been studies that have shown a slight increase in temperature the day before and the day of a tooth breaking through, but the temperature increase is very slight. It would not be considered a true fever as if they were sick. So if your babe is showing signs of illness such as fevers or diarrhea, talk with your pediatrician to see what else is going on.
Can teething cause a runny nose?
It should not, no. If your baby has a runny nose, it is likely from something else, like we discussed with fever and diarrhea. Again, their immunity is beginning to fade and they’re also at the age where they begin putting everything in their mouths, which increases the risk they’ll pick up germs and viruses.
Can teething cause a rash?
Teething itself should not cause a rash. So if you’re seeing a rash somewhere on your little love, call the doc. That being said, sometimes the extra drooling can cause a rash around their mouth or on their neck. Wash their face frequently with a cool cloth and this can be prevented. If they do get a rash, it’s actually more like chapping of the skin – try a protective ointment on it to clear it up.
How to help teething baby and home remedies for teething
- Rub your baby’s gums with a cool washcloth or your (clean) finger.
- Rubber teething rings (avoid ones with liquid in the middle – these can break open).
- Try chilling the rubber teething ring in the refrigerator.
- Put a washcloth in the freezer to harden slightly and let your little one gnaw on that. Don’t let it get completely frozen or it’ll hurt their gums!
- Tylenol or ibuprofen may be used, depending on age.
- No Tylenol under 3 months old
- No Ibuprofen under 6 months old
Let’s talk about the amber teething necklace. Very popular and trendy, these have not been found to actually help with baby’s pain but create a very high risk to them instead. For those who aren’t familiar, it is a necklace made of amber beads that a baby is supposed to wear while teething and apparently a pain-relieving substance (succinic acid) seeps out of the beads into the babies skin and helps relieve pain. Again, this has not been proven. Not only that, but strangulation has occurred many times and it also poses a choking hazard if the beads were to be swallowed.
There are also some homeopathic teething tablets, gels, or sprays that are supposed to numb the gums – these should also be avoided. They can cause very risky adverse reactions such as seizures, extreme sleepiness, muscle weakness, an irregular heartbeat and trouble breathing.
I know we all want to make painful experiences better for our little ones and we would never compromise their safety on purpose. So let’s just stick to the simple, basic things and consider teething a rite of passage for getting one step closer to steak. Or veggie burgers. Or whatever wonderful food you eat as a family that requires some good chompers!
Blake Wageman, RN, BSN has over 11 years of nursing under her belt, primarily focused on NICU babies and, just as importantly, their worried parents. She also has two daughters who have kept her on her toes from birth all the way into their tween years. Blake’s passion is giving parents not only the information, but also the comfort and confidence they need to make good decisions for their kiddos.
This content is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other healthcare provider.