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The Baby Teething Timeline: How to Help Your Child Cope

Jennifer A. DiGiovanni

Once you finally have your baby's feeding and sleeping routines down pat, you may wonder when that first tooth will appear. Although you may notice an increase in your baby's drooling, that does not necessarily mean a breakthrough is imminent. To assist your baby through this process, be aware of the signs of teething, and try a few tactics to help your child feel better.

When Does Teething Start?

The baby teething timeline is different for every child, but the average first tooth eruption occurs between 5 and 7 months. Teething can begin up to 2 months before the initial tooth sighting, so you may notice the symptoms earlier. By age 2 1/2, most children will have their full set of 20 baby teeth.

What Are Some Symptoms of Teething?

Some babies show no reaction before the appearance of their first tooth whereas others slobber like a leaky faucet or try to gnaw on anything they are able to get into their mouth. The most frequently observed symptoms are increased saliva production, crankiness and the desire to chew or rub to relieve the pain. You may also notice that your child's gums appear swollen.

According to the American Dental Association, diarrhea, rashes and a fever are not typical for a teething baby, so if you notice any of these symptoms, you should look for other possible causes. Generalized irritability is another symptom that could be associated with teething or the result of other health issues. You may notice your child's personality change seemingly overnight; it is important to provide additional comfort if he needs the extra attention.

Teething Remedies

Many teething remedies are available to meet your child's particular needs. Your pediatrician or seasoned moms who have been through teething with their own children can offer personal recommendations if you are unsure what to try first. Teething rings come in all shapes and sizes, so you may need to test out a few different items until you find one that your baby likes. A cold, clean washcloth can also serve as a temporary solution. One teething remedy that is no longer recommended by the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry is the application of teething gels, due to potential toxicity to infants. If your child appears extremely uncomfortable due to teething pain, you should ask your pediatrician for advice on additional methods of relief, such as the administration of ibuprofen.

As other developmental stages, the baby teething timeline differs for each child, and some babies experience more discomfort than others. As a parent, you know your child best, so trust your own instincts, and do not hesitate to contact your pediatrician or pediatric dentist if your baby's teething symptoms appear overly bothersome.

Learn more about teething in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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