Some parents hardly notice that their baby is Teething until those first little teeth start to appear. Others find their little one has months of wakeful nights, chewing, crying and generally feeling quite miserable.
Signs of teething
What are the symptoms of teething?
Teething symptoms can include:
- Lots of dribbling
- Sore, swollen gums
- Red, flushed cheeks
- Restlessness and disturbed nights
- Irritability or grumpiness
- Chewing on fingers, toys or teething rings
- Rejecting breast or poor appetite
- More demand for breast-feeding
- A raised temperature
- Rubbing the cheek or ear on the side the new tooth is coming through
Baby teething problems
Karen, mum to 8 month old Toby says: “My son has one tooth already and I think he has another coming through. He‘s whingey and unsettled all day and then can‘t sleep at night unless I feed him almost continuously. I‘m now completely exhausted and so is he!“
When should you worry about baby teething symptoms?
Symptoms such as fever (a temperature above 39°C), diarrhoea, runny nose or nappy rash are sometimes thought of as being related to teething. Symptoms such as these are often caused by bugs or infections, so it is best to seek medical advice. As viral and bacterial infections are quite common in babies, if your baby seems unwell or if you are at all concerned, consult your doctor.
What is teething rash?
Some parents say their children have a nappy rash and slightly looser bowel movements when teething. But again, if your baby is suffering from diarrhoea they may have a tummy bug, so always check with your doctor if they seem unwell. Similarly, if your baby has a rash on their body, this should always be checked out by a doctor.
How do teething symptoms affect babies?
Teething can affect all babies differently. Some babies can develop a red rash on their chin from all that drooling! Dr Nigel Carter from the British Dental Health Foundation confirms that “Most children do suffer some teething pains. Babies may suffer from a high temperature when they are teething and their cheeks may appear red and be warm to the touch“.
Constant chewing can be a sign of teething problems, but they tend to put things into their mouths as part of a normal developmental stage too so this alone does not always signal teething.
They may find it soothing to gnaw on teething rings, toys or anything else they can get hold of, including fingers (their own or yours!) If your baby starts biting do not mistake this as a sign of aggression or bad temper. This is probably just an instinctive way of trying to ease the pain and discomfort in the gums.
During teething, many babies go off their usual milk feeds, as sucking can increase the blood flow to the already sore gums and cause more pain. That said, it is not at all unusual for babies to want to feed more as some find it comforting.
Find out which teething+products can help.
What causes teething symptoms?
Teething in babies is often referred to as ‘cutting teeth‘. According to dental experts though, chemicals released in the body actually allow some of the cells in the gums to dissolve and separate in order for the teeth to grow.
The gums can still become sore and inflamed from the pressure of the tooth pushing through. In fact, it seems that the cheeks and jaws can ache and feel swollen or flushed with the movement of the teeth within the gums. Anyone who has had tooth ache will know just how uncomfortable this kind of pain can be.