Everything You Need to Know About Teething



Teething babies can be hell on earth and cry continually, or they could take it in their stride and not make an ounce of fuss. Unfortunately, as with everything when it comes to tiny humans – each one is completely different.

So, all we can do is arm you with all of the facts so you know what you may be up against, and then keep our fingers, toes, eyes, legs and arms crossed that it goes as smoothly as possibly for you all!

What is teething?

Teething is the process for new baby teeth breaking through the gums. Teething can often be a troublesome time for parents as it can cause the child to be in some discomfort.

When do babies start teething?

Most babies start teething from around 6 months old, however as you know, they are all different and some may not have any until after they turn 1. As far as we are aware there have been no cases of children that simply don’t grow teeth so don’t panic if the latter applies to you, they’ll come through when they’re ready. That being said it may be an idea to check with your own parents when you started sprouting teeth, statistics show that late teething parents are also likely to have late teething children!

How long do babies teeth for?

There is no set time for how long it takes babies teeth to come through fully as there are too many variable elements at play. Assuming that most babies begin teething at 6 months and typically end at 33 months, it is reasonable to estimate that the teething process lasts around 27 months.

Teething Symptoms

Teething symptoms can kick in as early as a month or two before the teeth actually show themselves. Which, if your child doesn’t cope too well, can be a complete nightmare for you, but stick with us – it does end, eventually.

Here are some of the symptoms to look out for that may indicate your little piggy’s teeth are on the way:

  • Excess Dribble

    • Teething stimulates dribbling so keep them hydrated to make up for the litres that they will lose every day. Be aware that at 4 months they do start to produce more saliva than they can physically swallow anyway, so it may not be a sure sign of teething. Keep them clean and dry to avoid rashes on their chest and mouth. See our dribbly teethers collection for some gorgeous dribble bibs and extra special vests designed for your extra dribbly little piggy.
  • Change in Feeding Habits 

    • If your baby is weaning or has been weaned, then they may find chewing certain foods uncomfortable and therefore refuse to eat them. You may also find that they take a dislike to their bottle. Sucking will bring more blood to their already swollen gums so could make it even more uncomfortable for them.
  • Trouble Sleeping

    • Quite possibly the worst symptom for parents as their sleep could be disrupted at any time, day or night. They may then become tired, be in pain and can’t sleep, which leads to our next symptom.
  • Irritability

    • This is usually one of the first signs as by this stage, your baby will have developed their own little personality so it will be easy to notice if they are not their usual self - you'll probably find that they want more cuddles, are a little whiney and difficult to keep entertained.
  • Pink/Swollen Gums & Flushed Cheeks

    • Your babies gums may appear slightly swollen and pink/red due to irritation of the new teeth trying to break through.
  • Pink/Flushed Cheeks

    • Rosy cheeks can look adorable but are also a sign of the teeth starting to push through.  

    Causes of Temperature & Fever in Teething Babies

    Now, it is often said by other parents that diarrhoea and a bit of a temperature are also signs of teething – however, ask a doctor and they will probably disagree. There is no medical link between the two but it definitely seems common that a teething baby will have awful nappies and be on the warm side. The most likely scenario is that your baby has picked up a bug or a cold during teething simply because of the large amount of objects that go straight into their mouths before you have chance to yank it away or anti-bac it – the chain on the trolley, car keys, toys at playgroup, anything with straps, restaurant menus etc etc. This will result in a higher exposure to germs and therefore higher chance of falling ill. This would explain the link between teething and illness whilst also supporting the doctors view that it is not a direct symptom. 

    Another theory is simply that their nappies become looser because of the extra saliva that they end up swallowing.  Either way, medical advice states that a fever, sickness and diarrhoea are almost always signs of illness so if you are concerned, take them to your local surgery.

    Pain relief for your teething baby

    There are a few things that can be done to relieve the symptoms for your little piggy and also help with the overall mess created by your dribbly teether. Here are some of the options available out there:

      • Teething Gels

        • There are a number of different gels on the market and they all contain an element of analgesic which temporarily numbs the area. A lot of them now also have antiseptic properties in them to help prevent infection which the gums could be prone to as the teeth cut through. Not a good idea to use them before feeding as a partially numb mouth can make it hard for baby to suck, and if you’re breastfeeding be aware that it could also numb your nipple! 
      • Teething Granules

        • There is certainly a large movement of parents that are now trying to opt for more natural products to use on their baby. If you are one of these then teething granules would be the preferred choice over the teething gels. Some of them however can have added lactose or sugar so read the labels as you don’t want to be coating any teeth they already have with the sweet stuff. The application can be little odd as you usually have to tip the whole sachet into their mouths and then just hope for the best.
      • Baby Medicines

        • Infant paracetamol (such as Calpol) can be used to target the pain as well. Just remember that a raised temperature, diarrhoea and vomiting are more likely signs of illness so don’t explain away a fever as a teething symptom as they may need to see a doctor.
      • Teething Toys

        • There is a vast array of teething toys & dummies available that have been designed to keep little hands and minds distracted and also provide pressure relief on their little gums by giving them a good old chew. Have a look at our favourite on our Top Ten Teething Essentials list.
      • Distraction

        • If the pain is mild for them then the old fashioned distraction technique can work wonders. Going out and about in the pram, cuddles, talking/singing/reading to your baby can all be effective ways to return your dribbly teether back into your happy little piggy.
      • Home Made Solutions

        • Pretty much anything chilled, relatively hard and safe for them to chew will work. Think carrot or cucumber sticks straight out of the fridge, maybe some ice cubes wrapped up inside a sock or even a cold damp flannel. Don’t forget that most teething toys and dummies are also fridge/freezer safe so check their care instructions and then if you can, pop them in overnight ready to tackle teething head on in the morning.

    Other Helpful Teething Products

      • Dribble Protection

        • Dribble bibs and Dribble Stop Tops are super absorbent to not only protect your babies skin, but to also reduce the amount of changing & washing!
      • Teething Gel Applicators

        • The application of teething gel can be a little tricky as you will get bitten and it will be difficult to know how much you managed to get in the affected area. Some parents make do with fingers to apply teething gel, however for many of us this simply is not an option. Some children are "blessed" with tiny razor sharp fangs that clamp as tightly as possible on anything and everything. In these situations, it is usually suitable to use a teething toy as an applicator, however this method doesn't tend to reach the back teeth. For this, Matchstick Monkeys make the perfect freezer safe weapon in your arsenal! Not only do they provide pain relief and encourage the cutting process, but they are also great for keeping gums and new teeth clean.

    Caring for Baby Teeth & Gums

    Once you’ve managed to get the symptoms under control and those pearly whites start to emerge, it is time to get a regular care routine in place to look after them. Not only will this set them in good stead for later life when they will need to start doing it themselves, but milk teeth need just as much looking after as adult teeth do.

    Why you should look after your babies teeth

    A lot of people seem to think that because baby teeth fall out, they don’t matter, however this is the complete opposite. Here are just some of the reasons why your little ones baby teeth are just as important as their subsequent adult teeth:

        • They encourage healthy eating and correct digestion by successfully breaking up food
        • Help baby with speech development and to form new sounds, noises and words
        • Allow normal development of jaw bones and muscles
        • Give structure to their face
        • ‘Hold’ space for adult teeth and guide them into the correct position when they start to push through

    Effects of neglecting your babies teeth

    If milk teeth aren’t looked after then it can cause significant problems for the adult teeth such as:

        • Any disease/decay can spread to the permanent teeth that are already forming in baby’s jaw
        • If any milk teeth fall out before they’re ready (or need to be taken out due to decay) then there will no longer be a space ‘held’ for the emerging adult tooth which means it may not erupt in normal alignment and require orthodontic work in the future.

    How to clean babies gums

    Wipe the gums and any freshly emerged little teeth with a clean damp cloth or cotton wool buds. Do this as part of their morning and bedtime routine to get them into the swing of things.

    How to clean new baby teeth

    Once the teeth are protruding enough for them to be brushed, start off with a Jack n' Jill Silicone Toothbrush and a tiny blob of Jack n' Jill Natural Calendula Toothpaste, and gently start to brush round their mouth. Continuing like this daily will ensure they develop a healthy routine to look after their pearly whites and that their permanent teeth are already off to the best start.

    Things to consider

    There are a couple of other things to think about while the milk teeth are coming through:

    Sucking on bottles for long periods of time causes the drink to pool around their teeth, at which point any sugars in the drink mixes with natural bacteria in their mouth to form acids which then attack the enamel on their shiny new teeth. This is known as Baby Bottle Syndrome and is the leading cause of dental problems with children under 3 years old. So, if your little one insists on going to bed with a bottle make sure it is only filled with water and try and get them using a cup as soon as possible.

    Thumb sucking can cause problems with tooth alignment so should be discouraged by 2-3 years old but definitely by the time the adult teeth come through. It is the same principle with dummies but these are often easier to control than their own digits, so can be moderated and reduced effectively.

    If all goes to plan, this ordeal should all be over by the time they reach their third birthday. However, you will probably find that they struggle most at the beginning as the sensation is completely new, seem to pop more little teeth out without much fuss but then get a little whiney again as the bigger molars at the back erupt.

    Here is a little guide as to what to expect and when:

    6 to10 months
    8 to12 months
    9 to13 months
    10 to16 months
    13 to19 months
    14 to 18 months
    16 to 22 months
    17 to 23 months
    23 to 31 months
    25 to 33 months


    Finally, to help you get through what can be a challenging time, take a look at our Top Ten Teething Essentials or check out our Dribbly Teethers collection – good luck!

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