Recognise the signs of teething and learn tips for pain relief

Teething is an exciting time for you and your baby, even if it may cause a few sleepless nights! At around six months old, their toothy grin begins to develop as the first of their milk teeth emerges through their gums. Go teeth! As more appear, you’ll need to recognise the signs of teething and – should they happen – teething troubles. You’ll also need to clean and sterilise anything your baby chews on to reduce the risk from harmful germs.

Teething symptoms for your little one include:

  • Sore or red gums around the tooth
  • Flushed cheeks
  • They dribble, gnaw and chew a lot
  • They appear fretful and may have a temperature

What are the stages of Teething?

Babies usually have all their milk teeth by 30 months. But which will pop up first?

  • Bottom front incisors – around five to seven months
  • Top front incisors – six to eight months
  • Top lateral incisors either side of top front teeth – nine to 11 months
  • Bottom lateral incisors either side of bottom front teeth – 10-12 months
  • Molars (back teeth) – 12-16 months 
  • Canines (towards the back of the mouth) – 16-20 months
  • Second molars – 20-30 months

Tips for Teething Troubles 

Some of your baby’s teeth will appear as if by magic. Others can take a little longer and cause pain or discomfort. During teething, babies tend to chew on anything they can get their hands on. Good hygiene, therefore, is vital. Anything that may find its way into your baby’s mouth should be cleaned and sterilised, to prevent harmful germs being ingested.

There are also other ways to put a smile back on your little treasure’s face:

  • Give your baby a teething ring to chew on. Some can be chilled in the fridge to soothe your baby’s gums. Always clean and sterilise as you would with feeding bottles and teats
  • Rub sugar-free teething gel on their gums
  • Give them something healthy to chew on such as fruit or vegetables
  • Offer them a cool sugar-free drink, preferably water
  • At this age, your child is likely to be putting their hands in their mouth all the time, so make sure you regularly wash their hands with soap suitable for baby skin

We recommend consulting your GP or pharmacist before giving your baby painkillers or teething gel.

How should I care for my baby’s first teeth?

You should register your baby with a dentist as soon as their teeth appear. Start cleaning their teeth twice a day to keep your baby’s teeth and gums healthy. Here’s how:

  • Always wash your hands before cleaning your baby’s teeth
  • Sit your baby on your lap and gently cradle the chin with one hand
  • Use a small soft toothbrush or clean piece of gauze wrapped around your finger
  • Use a smear of sugar-free baby’s toothpaste (with fluoride) and gently brush or rub
  • Brush the teeth in small circles covering all the surfaces and let your child spit the toothpaste out afterwards. Rinsing with water has been found to reduce the benefit of fluoride