Recognising the Symptoms of Teething

Published: 10th February 2007
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In most children teething starts at around 6 months of age. However, the first set of primary (milk) teeth take up to 2 to 3 years to appear. Teething can be a painful and distressing time for your child. Learning to recognise teething symptoms is the first step in finding the best remedy for your teething baby.

Each child is unique, so recognising teething symptoms can be somewhat problematic. Because each child experiences teething differently, parents and physicians often disagree as to the symptoms of teething and how painful it is. But, most times, teething symptoms manifest themselves in the following way. One ward of caution: what you may believe to be teething symptoms in your child, can be caused by other conditions, so be sure to always check with your doctor.


Wouldn't you be irritable if something sharp was breaking through a tender area of your body? A classic, and most obvious teething symptom, is your child's irritability as the pain of the first teeth erupt through the gums. The pain and discomfort your child feels is usually the worst when the first teeth appear and when the large molars appear. Feeding at this time may also be painful and many babies fuss whilst being fed.


Teething stimulates drooling, so you can expect your baby to drool more than usual during teething.


A direct effect of drooling is coughing. The extra saliva can cause your baby to occasionally cough or gag. This is usually nothing to worry about. If your baby does not have a fever and seems well in herself, then don't worry. If you are concerned that the cough may not be a sign of teething, then you should consult your doctor.

Chin rash

Another well observed symptom of teething is chin rash. Some children drool excessively during teething and this in turn causes a rash to appear around the chin and mouth. You can help by wiping your child's mouth and chin periodically throughout the day.

Biting and chewing just about everything

A sometimes-painful experience for mother whom breastfeed. If you breastfeed you can expect to get bitten during teething. When this happens you should be able to quickly teach your baby that mom's nipple is not for biting. Babies gnaw on everything around during teething, as the counter-pressure from biting down on something, help to relieve painful gums.

Ear pulling and cheek rubbing.

Pain in the gums may spread to the ears and cheeks especially when the back molars begin coming in. Therefore it is natural for your baby to rub themselves around the ear and cheeks. However, bear in mind that pulling at an ear can also be a sign of an ear infection. If in doubt, consult your doctor.


Most physicians and researchers dismiss diarrhea as a symptom of teething.

However, many parents notice slightly looser bowel movements when their baby is teething. A recent study done by the Children's Hospital in Australia found this to be the most common symptoms of teething but most medical professionals dispute its findings. It is believed that the most likely cause of this is the extra saliva swallowed, which then loosens the stool. Diarrhea can be a serious condition, so it lasts more than two bowel movements, see your doctor.

Low-grade fever

A fever is another symptom that doctors are sometimes hesitant to directly link with teething. Again, many parents will disagree with this and notice that their baby has a slight fever while teething. Always play safe and contact your doctor if your child has a fever, now matter how slight it appears.

Not sleeping

Teething pain can feel much worse at night time and may cause your baby wake up more often than usual. Lack of sleep will make your baby even more irritable during the day; therefore allow extra naps during the day if necessary

Cold like symptoms

Some babies will show signs of having a cold whilst teething. Runny noses, coughing and general cold symptoms are believed to come from babies having their hands in their mouth more often. If your baby has cold like symptoms don't take any risks; go and see your doctor.

During teething your baby may display all or none of the above teething symptoms. There are many teething remedies, which ones work best will be a matter of trial and error. Finally, start taking care of your baby's teeth from day one; it's never too early to take care of teeth, even if there are temporary milk ones.

Visit for more advice on teething rings, teething side effects and lots of teething remedies for your little one.

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