advice

teething problems:
signs, symptoms and how to help

Cutting teeth is a painful and tiring time for your little one, meaning one very grumpy baby. If you’re preparing for the sleepless nights, you might have lots of questions. When do babies start teething? What are the signs and symptoms? How can I soothe a teething baby? Well, here’s what to expect and how you can help make things a little more bearable.

when do babies start teething?

First things first, at what age do babies start teething? For most little ones, teething starts around six months, although it can be earlier and some babies are even born with their first teeth! Everybody’s different so don’t panic if you haven’t spotted a tooth by the six-month mark. If baby hasn’t started teething by their first birthday, take them to the dentist for a check up.

signs and symptoms

It’s pretty easy to tell the signs and symptoms of teething even before you spot any milk teeth coming through. Your child could have started teething if they:

  • are grouchy, teary and tired
  • have red and sore gums
  • have red cheeks
  • gnaw and chew at things (and drool all over the place)
  • turn away from food
  • don’t sleep well
  • start grabbing their ears

Lots of people think that fever and diarrhoea are also signs of teething but these symptoms should always be checked out by a doctor just in case.

how to soothe a teething baby

Teething isn’t easy for baby or for you. Thankfully, there are lots of ways you can help soothe your child and make cutting teeth (slightly) less of an ordeal.

Invest in a teething ring. These are great for soothing tender gums and they save your little one chewing on your clothes – win, win! Try to find a teething ring that you can put in the fridge – it’ll help cool off sore gums.

You can also rub teething gel (available over the counter) on their gums to give relief as teeth come through.

teething rash

When babies start teething, they dribble and drool a lot (we’ll put this delight up there with wet nappies). This can lead to teething rash – a sore redness around the chin and jowls. Rubbing a bit of Vaseline on baby’s chin can stop their skin from getting sore.

keeping baby’s teeth healthy

As soon as they cut their first tooth, you should start brushing your baby’s teeth twice a day. Unsurprisingly, some children don’t like having their teeth brushed so try to set a routine and brush theirs when you do yours. Use a special baby toothbrush and toothpaste as fluoride can damage their milk teeth.

Try to limit sugar and don't give them juice in bottles. From a bottle, sugary juice will coat your baby’s teeth, which causes damage. Take them to the dentist for a check up as soon as their first tooth is cut. The dentist will let you know how best to take care of their little gnashers while they’re growing.