Teething is the process during which an infant’s primary teeth, also known as baby teeth or deciduous teeth, begin to emerge through their gums. It typically starts around 6 months old and can cause discomfort, pain, or irritability due to gum sensitivity. Common symptoms of teething include drooling, gum inflammation, and the baby wanting to chew on objects to relieve pressure on their gums.

Key Takeaways

  1. Teething is a natural process during which a baby’s teeth start to emerge through the gums, typically beginning around 6 months of age.
  2. During teething, babies may experience symptoms such as increased drooling, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and a mild fever. Parents can help alleviate their baby’s discomfort with teething toys, cold compresses, or pain relief medication if advised by a doctor.
  3. Teething usually lasts until a child is about 2-3 years old when all 20 primary teeth have erupted. Parents should begin practicing proper dental hygiene with their child, including brushing and regular dental checkups, as soon as the first tooth appears.


Teething is an important parenting term because it signifies a significant developmental stage in a child’s life when their primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, start to emerge through the gums. This process usually begins around 6 months of age, but can vary for each child.

Teething can cause discomfort and pain for the baby, which may lead to fussiness, increased drooling, and difficulty sleeping. As parents, recognizing the signs of teething is essential for providing adequate care and comforting measures to ease their child’s discomfort.

During this period, parents should also pay attention to dental hygiene, as it lays the foundation for good oral health throughout the child’s life. Offering safe teething toys and introducing appropriate methods to ease symptoms are vital in effectively managing this natural stage of growth and development.


Teething is a natural, albeit discomforting, development stage for infants during which their first set of teeth, known as baby teeth or primary teeth, begin to erupt through the gums. This process typically commences between the ages of 4-7 months, continuing until approximately two years old. The purpose of teething is to allow a child’s teeth to break through the gums so they can form the essential dental and oral structures required for proper chewing, speech development, and other functions necessary for everyday life.

The process of teething is crucial as it prepares the child for consuming solid foods and activating the correct muscles needed for speech. During the teething phase, parents may observe various symptoms in their child such as drooling, irritability, swollen or sensitive gums, and the natural urge to chew or bite on objects. These manifestations are a direct response to the pressure of the teeth pushing through the gums, leading to pain and discomfort.

Parents can use various techniques and items specifically designed to ease the discomfort and pain felt by their child. Teething toys, cold or chilled items such as pacifiers or teething rings, and safe over-the-counter pain relief or fever reducing medications are particularly useful during this period. Parental support plays a vital role in comforting and providing relief to the teething infant, as well as maintaining proper dental hygiene from the moment the first tooth appears.

Examples of Teething

Teething is the process in which an infant’s primary teeth emerge through the gums, typically starting between the ages of 4-7 months. Here are three real-world examples related to teething:

Chewing on teething toys or cold objects: A parent might provide their teething baby with a safe, age-appropriate teething toy or a cold washcloth to help soothe the child’s gums. These items can help alleviate the discomfort caused by teething.

Teething gels and pain relief: Some parents may use over-the-counter teething gels or pain relief medication, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as a last resort to help their baby deal with the pain caused by teething. However, it’s essential to consult with a pediatrician before administering any medication to a child, as some products may not be safe or suitable for young infants.

Fussiness and sleep disturbance: During the teething phase, a baby might become increasingly fussy and irritable, and have difficulty sleeping. Parents may need to provide extra comfort and soothing techniques during this time to help their child cope with the pain and discomfort of teething. Some of these techniques include gently rubbing the baby’s gums with a clean finger and providing extra cuddles or a pacifier for soothing.

Teething FAQ

1. What is teething?

Teething is the process where an infant’s first set of teeth, known as primary teeth or baby teeth, begin to erupt (push through the gum line) and emerge above the gums. This generally occurs within the first year of a child’s life.

2. What are the common signs of teething?

Common signs of teething may include drooling more than usual, swollen or tender gums, fussiness and irritability, biting on hard objects, sleep disturbances, refusing food, and rubbing the face or ears.

3. How can I soothe my teething baby?

To soothe a teething baby, you can offer them a clean, damp washcloth or a teething ring to chew on, gently massage their gums with a clean finger, use a cold spoon or chilled teething ring to provide relief, and consult with a pediatrician about using pain-relief medications such as infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

4. When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?

It’s essential to start cleaning your baby’s teeth as soon as they appear. You can clean their teeth by gently wiping the tooth or teeth with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze. When more teeth appear, you can switch to using a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

5. When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?

It’s recommended to take your child to the dentist for their first dental check-up by the time they turn one or within six months after their first tooth erupts, whichever comes first. This helps in early identification and prevention of dental problems.

6. Can teething cause fever in my baby?

Teething alone is not directly responsible for causing fever. However, the eruption of new teeth can sometimes lead to slight elevation in a child’s body temperature. If your baby has a high fever, it’s essential to consult a pediatrician to rule out other potential sources of infection or illness.

Related Parenting Terms

  • Teething pain
  • Teething toys
  • Teething remedies
  • Teething gel
  • Teething biscuits

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