Teething is the process by which an infants teeth break through the gums. It is also referred to as “cutting” of the teeth.

Teething period

Symptoms of teething often precede the eruption of a baby’s tooth by several days. While a baby’s tooth can appear between 4 and 10 months, the first tooth approximately erupts at 6 months. It is however important the teething period varies for each baby.

Signs and symptoms of teething

The baby usually experiences gum and jaw discomfort as the infants tooth prepares to erupt through the gum surface. The area may appear slightly red or swollen. Sometimes a fluid-filled area may be seen above the erupting tooth. As a result, the following symptoms may be observed;

  • Increased drooling
  • Restless or decreased sleeping due to gum discomfort
  • Refusal of food due to soreness of the gum region
  • Mild rash around the mouth due to skin irritation

It is important to note that teething is not associated with the following symptoms;

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Prolonged fussiness
  • Rashes over the body

Also contrary to popular belief, there is no proof that there is a relationship between fever and teething. Viral infections often occur independently and may happen simultaneously with dental eruptions.

The discomfort children face before tooth eruption varies. Some babies are bothered more than others during the migration through the tissues deep to the gum line.


Teething infants often feel better when gentle pressure is applied on their gums. It is thus recommended to gently rub the gums with a clean finger or have the child bite down on a clean washcloth.

Cold objects also help to reduce the inflammation. Ice cubes can be used for this purpose. This should be done cautiously to avoid prolonged contact to very cold objects.

Over-the-counter ointments can be used to numb the gums. Ask your dentist or doctor to provide some recommendations

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