Contrary to popular belief, fever is not considered one of the true signs of teething.
Teething has received a lot of bad reputation over the years. Symptoms like diarrhea, loose stools, vomiting, bronchitis, and fever are often blamed on teething, but they are not associated with the signs of teething.
So, how to know when a baby is teething?
This science-backed article will help you spot the signs of teething and answer some frequently asked questions about baby teething symptoms.
When Do Babies Start Teething?
Babies often start teething around 6 months of age, and the eruption is completed by 24 to 36 months.
- Even though every baby is different, most primary baby teeth come in between the ages of 4 and 12 months.
Girls usually start teething slightly earlier than boys, and delays in tooth eruption can be hereditary.
Evelina Weidman Sterling, Health-Education Specialist
"Eruption is usually symmetrical (lower teeth before upper) in the following pattern for primary teeth: central incisors, lateral incisors, first molars, canines, second molars.
A helpful way to remember the timing of primary eruption is the 7+4 rule.
At 7 months of age, children often have their first teeth;
at 11 months (4 months later), they usually have four teeth.
At 15 months (4 months later), they have eight teeth, and so on.
This pattern continues as follows:
19 months = 12 teeth
23 months = 16 teeth
27 months = 20 teeth"
What are the first signs of teething?
Your baby may gnaw on his ﬁngers when his teeth come through.
Signs of teething may appear weeks before you see a tooth emerging. Yet, you may notice a white bud on your baby’s gums.
Also as first signs of teething, you may observe these symtoms:
- Excessive drooling.
- Your baby may become restless or she may sleep less because of gum discomfort.
- Your baby may refuse food due to soreness of the gum region.
- Fussiness that comes and goes.
- Your baby rub the cheek or ear region as a result of pain during the eruption of the molars.
Can teething cause a fever?
When babies are 6 months old, they usually begin to lose the immunity passed on by their mothers. They tend to pick up several new infections during teething period.
- A fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit is not associated with teething and warrants a call to your child’s health care provider.
Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, FAAP
"Although many parents sometimes notice that their child “feels warm” or “has a low-grade fever,” teething does not actually cause a true fever.
If your teething infant does have a fever, it is probably due to something else—possibly a cold or other illness that hasn’t presented itself yet.
Teething isn’t always fun, even without a fever, as it can cause quite a bit of drool and fussiness as the teeth poke their way through sensitive gums—ouch!
For infants (or even toddlers) who seem to be bothered by the situation, an appropriate dose of acetaminophen along with a cool teething ring to chew on (Popsicles work well for toddlers) may help. Depending on how high the temperature is and how your infant is acting, you can observe your teething child for a day or two or call your pediatrician for advice. "
Can teething cause diarrhea?
Suraj Gupte MD, FIAP
"There is no truth in the commonly-held belief that teething causes diarrhea. "
During teething period babies tend to put everything in their mouth as a result of itchy gums. Due to increased amount of saliva, stools or germs pass through the intestines more quickly and take with them more acidic matter. This acidic content can cause diarrhea and may result in rash.
- These symptoms also may signal an infection or virus, they should always be reported to your doctor.
10 Signs of Teething
There may be no signs of teething until your baby is 15 months old. Yet, some babies, start teething as early as three months.
- The teething process usually follows hereditary patterns, therefore if your partner or you teethed early or late, your baby may well do the same
When the process of teething starts, parents desperately seek ways to to relieve the discomfort of the baby.
Your baby may show the following signs of teething:
- Irritability and Fussiness,
- Redness Around The Chin, Cheeks and Mouth,
- Teething Pain,
- Difﬁculty Falling Asleep or Staying Asleep,
- Ear Pain,
- Rejection of Breastfeeding,
- Coughing or Gagging,
- Swollen, discolored gums,
1- Irritability and Fussiness
The first tooth is often the worst as your baby's gums become sore and painful.
Often fussiness starts long before we see a tooth pop out, so it can be hard to tell that teething is responsible for your baby’s fussiness.
- When your baby is fussy, check the surface of the gum tissue. As the tooth moves beneath the surface of the gum tissue, the area may appear slightly red or swollen during teething.
if your baby begins to chew her fingers or put them in her mouth during the fussy time, it is most probably a sign that your baby is teething.
This is the exact, telltale sign for teething. If your baby’s chin is continually wet, it is highly possible that a tooth is coming in. Keep a bib handy.
During teething, your baby can gnaw, gum, and bite everything she puts in his mouth.
Your baby may start biting you and this is one of the signs of teething as well. The reason your baby is doing this is to relieve her itchy gums!
- You can give your baby a clean, cool washcloth, a teether, a cucumber or carrot to chew on. This reduces both itching and relieve gums.
- A teething ring that you can put in the fridge is ideal
- but don’t put the ring in the freezer, as this can damage the gums.
4- Redness Around The Chin, Cheeks and Mouth
The saliva that is always present during the teething period may cause irritation around the mouth, cheeks and the jaw.
That leads to redness and cracks in the skin.
- In order to prevent this, you can gently clean the baby's saliva with a soft cloth periodically.
5- Teething Pain
When the sharp part of the tooth approaches the surface and starts to push the gums, your baby's pain will increase and she will feel distressed.
- Observe your baby’s reactions. Some babies have higher pain tolerances than others. It is possible for your baby to gesture to show discomfort by touching his or her face or cheeks.
6- Difﬁculty Falling Asleep or Staying Asleep
The teething process is a typical reason that babies have trouble falling and staying asleep.
- If your baby can't sleep at night, it could be a sign that she is teething. As the teething action continues for the whole day, the pain will be at night.
Teething pain can disrupt your baby's ability to sleep. Babies can’t talk about their problems; they can only fuss or cry.
7- Ear Pain
Ear pain in babies can also be considered as a sign of teething.
- The pain that spreads on the gums can slide towards the ears and cheeks. Because of the pain here, your baby can pull his ears and rub his cheeks.
8- Breast Refusal
Breast refusal, refusal to suck at the breast is also one of the signs of teething.
Teething may cause fussy nursing behavior. Most babies experience gum discomfort with sucking during teething.
- You may feel worried about nursing strikes but they are usually temporary. If your baby rejects breastmilk, try breastfeeding your baby when she is asleep.
9- Coughing or Gagging
As a result of excessive amount of saliva to drip down the back of your baby's throat, your baby can sometimes cough.
- Your baby's coughing and gagging also may signal an illness, they should always be reported to your doctor.
10- Swollen, red or white gums
Your baby’s gums will seem white as the gumline stretches to accommodate the incoming tooth.
more to read: (see: how to prevent baby-bottle tooth decay)