Pain, discomfort, abundant salivation, fever, diarrhea. All these symptoms of the infant are often associated with baby teething. But are all these the signs of teeth eruption? Or can they signal different illnesses? This guide to baby teething should help you understand the real signs and symptoms.
Then, check out the teething timeline to know what to expect and when.
BABY TEETHING SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Baby teething is a natural process that starts at about six months of age and lasts for about two years. In other words, your baby’s teeth will erupt at any time between six and 30 months, in established stages. However, the baby teething timeline is only indicative. Some babies have their first teeth earlier, others later.
Whenever teething will happen, rest assured that you’ll know it. Your bundle of joy will suddenly get fussier; that’s why most parents believe that infants feel discomfort or pain. Yet, there is no scientific evidence to support these statements. In fact, pediatricians and dentists confirm that babies feel no pain when the teeth erupt (do you remember feeling pain when your wisdom teeth erupted?).
What stands behind the fussiness of the baby is the “novelty” he or she perceives within the mouth. In particular, the most annoying baby teething phases are the first one, when the first incisors erupt, and the eruption of the molars.
The incisors cause discomfort mainly because the sensation is new. Your baby didn’t have any teeth before and simply feels strange. The molars are the biggest teeth and are very different from the incisors, so they also cause discomfort.
Therefore, more than pain, we can talk about nuisance.
HOW TO ALLEVIATE BABY TEETHING SYMPTOMS
Although not painful, baby teething comes with inflammation and discomfort. Your baby will feel cranky and moody. Gum massage can help alleviate the symptoms; you can either massage the baby’s gums with your fingers or give the baby a teething toy.
Some teething toys even contain a coolant that helps alleviate discomfort. Just keep the toy in the fridge or freezer for at least a few hours before giving it to the baby.
The anesthetic effect of the cold combined with the massage exerted by the rough surface distracts the child from the annoying feeling.
Cuddling is another effective remedy. A bit of pampering and perhaps a massage of the gums with the fingers give the little one a beneficial feeling of being looked after and consoled. Cold drinks, such as cold herbal infusion, can also help.
WHAT TO DO IF BABY CAN’T SLEEP?
Sleep difficulties are a common symptom of teething and they are usually triggered by the tension felt in the gums. In these cases, cuddling is the best remedy.
WHAT ABOUT TEETHING FEVER AND DIARRHEA?
Baby teething often coincides with fever and diarrhea. However, the symptoms are unrelated to teething and, more often than not, they are associated with other conditions that develop in parallel with teething. These conditions include colds, gastrointestinal infections, and flues.
As we already explained in a previous article, teething fever is more of a myth and if fever occurs while teething, you should talk to your pediatrician and investigate the causes. Diarrhea is also associated with viral or bacterial infections and it has nothing to do with teething.
BABY TEETHING TIMELINE
As mentioned above, baby teething begins on average at six months. However, there have been reported cases of babies growing their first incisors at only three months, while other babies only started teething at around nine months.
Talking about averages, teething begins at six months and ends at 30 months. The first teeth to grow are the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors at about seven months.
Until the first birthday, your baby will also grow the upper and lower lateral incisors. If you’re breastfeeding, the eruption of these teeth will bring new challenges to the breastfeeding routine; at the same time, the baby will also be able to chew on things, which will help with food diversification.
The next teeth to erupt are the first molars, between the twelfth and eighteenth month. By now, the baby is mastering chewing and doesn’t feel all that discomfort related to teething anymore. The first molars are followed by the canines which erupt between the eighteenth and twenty-fourth month.
The last to erupt are the second molars; by the thirtieth month, the baby will have a full set of deciduous teeth and will master the art of biting and chewing.
Baby teething is characterized by fussiness and crankiness, but babies hardly feel pain. These symptoms are triggered by gum tension and discomfort caused by a new experience.
Fever and diarrhea are often related to viral or bacterial infections. These symptoms are unrelated to teething, although they can develop in parallel. This often leads parents to think the two conditions are related and delay the appointment with the pediatrician.
Yet, you should talk to your doctor as soon as the baby develops either one of these symptoms because they can indicate a serious affection.
In broad terms, use coolant teething toys and massage the gums of your baby to alleviate discomfort. Other than this, just wait for the time to pass and for the fussiness to go. Everything will happen naturally and in the end, your bundle of joy will have a full set of strong teeth to use to bite and chew new foods.