Life is full of ups and downs, especially when you’re raising an infant. You’ve probably heard how tough the teething stage can be, so it’s helpful to prepare ahead of time.
As the first tooth starts to push through the gum line, your baby is probably going to be less than thrilled about it. And rightly so! After all, the process can cause pain, swollen gums, and other painful symptoms.
Baby teething symptoms can cause discomfort for your child, and they’ll certainly let you know about it. But how do you distinguish these from simple crabbiness or other possible causes? Read on to learn how to spot nine of the most common baby teething symptoms.
When Do Babies Start Teething?
Most babies will start growing in their teeth when they’re between six to twelve months of age. But don’t worry: every baby is different. Some might start as early as 4 months old, whereas others might not start until after their first birthday.
Common Baby Teething Symptoms
Again, every baby is different. Some babies will experience certain symptoms more than others, whereas other babies might experience fewer symptoms in general. Either way, these are the most common baby teething symptoms to look out for.
When your baby is teething, they will feel a lot of pressure and discomfort. This is caused by new teeth pushing through the gums.
This discomfort is likely to make your baby feel confused, irritable, and generally out of sorts. He or she might express this pain through crabbiness and irritability. Depending on the baby, this moodiness might last anywhere from several hours to several weeks as the new tooth comes in.
Babies drool quite a bit as it is, but the teething process can increase the amount of drool your baby is producing. If you notice that your little one is drooling more than usual, then it could be indicative of baby teething symptoms.
If the drooling is particularly bothersome, try attaching a bib to help protect your baby’s clothing. It’s also important to wipe the mouth and chin frequently to prevent rashes and other forms of irritation. If you notice any rashes developing, apply a topical cream.
- Coughing or Gagging
Another one of the most common baby teething symptoms is coughing or gagging. This is triggered by the excess saliva that is created during the teething process.
If you notice that your baby is coughing or gagging a lot, check for other symptoms of allergies, cold, or flu. As long as none are present, then there is not a need for concern.
- Trouble Sleeping
If your baby is experiencing more issues with sleep than usual, then this could be due to baby teething symptoms. The pain and pressure on the gums can make it difficult for your little one to sleep through the night. You can help him or her by singing a soothing lullaby or staying with them until they can fall asleep again.
- Not Eating
As they’re teething, your baby will likely be experiencing a lot of pain in his or her mouth and gums. This can make them especially fussy during meals. In severe cases, they might refuse to eat altogether.
If you’re nursing a baby or feeding with a bottle, the suction can make teething feel even worse. If you’re feeding solid food, they might still refuse to eat. The best solution is to keep attempting feedings and to call your doctor if they still won’t eat after a few days.
As your baby feels the pressure of his or her teeth coming through, he or she might look for some means of relieving that pressure. Biting or chewing is the perfect outlet. So, if you notice your baby chewing or biting more often than normal, it could be one of the telltale baby teething symptoms.
It’s helpful to provide your baby with teething toys to chew on, or even a cold washcloth to bite down on. This will help relieve the pressure and keep them from biting fingers or other objects that they shouldn’t be.
- Ear Pulling
One of the lesser-known baby teething symptoms is ear tugging. A baby who is teething might be tugging and fussing with their ears a lot. This is because ears have the same nerve pathways as the mouth, so they might be experiencing pain there as well.
Ear tugging might also be a sign of an ear infection. Be sure to note any other symptoms and see your doctor if you’re concerned.
- Cheek Rubbing
Just like ear tugging, cheek rubbing is a common teething symptom because of the nerve pathways in the mouth. Pain in the mouth can travel to the cheek, leading your little one to rub at the chin or cheeks.
The pain and inflammation in your baby’s gums could lead to excessive crying episodes. As mentioned earlier, every baby will deal with the pain differently, and some babies will cry more than others.
Your Child’s Dental Health
Once your infant has started experiencing baby teething symptoms, it’s wise to plan out how you’ll care for your child’s dental health. Plus, when the time comes, you’ll be teaching them how to do it as well.
For now, it’s important to start caring for your baby’s teeth as soon as the first one pops up. Using a soft toothbrush (meant for babies) and a tiny bead of fluoride toothpaste, gently brush their teeth two times per day. This will help get them used to the routine and prepared for a lifetime of good dental health.
As your child gets older, kids’ orthodontists recommend scheduling orthodontic appointments to ensure that the adult teeth come in healthy and straight.
Getting Through the Teething Phase
Teething is a painful and stressful time for your baby (and for you, too). Knowing what to expect can help get you both through it. Now that you know how to spot nine of the most common baby teething symptoms, you’ll be more than ready for the task.
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