September 15, 2014

Baby's First Tooth: Signs your baby might be teething

A baby’s first tooth usually breaks through around age 6 or 7 months, however, they can appear anywhere from 3 months to 1 year of age. So how do you know when to expect that milestone with your little one? Here are some signs to clue you in that your baby may be teething.


The pressure of a tooth that is making its way through your baby’s gums may be painful, or at the least, uncomfortable. Accordingly, your baby may become fussier/crankier than usual in the days (or weeks, for some) leading up to a tooth erupting through the gums. This discomfort may also lead to increased night-waking or poor sleep quality.

Increased drooling

Teething causes excessive saliva production, so many parents notice more drooling during this time. The increase in saliva can also cause coughing, gagging, or a rash on your baby’s chin, face, and/or neck.


Chewing on their fingers (and yours!) and toys (and anything else they can get their hands on!) is another sign of teething. Applying pressure externally to the gums can relieve the pain and discomfort from teething. This is a great time to bring out all of those teething rings and toys!

Refusal to eat or drink

The sucking action of nursing or bottle feeding can cause pain for a teething baby, so you may find your baby refuses to nurse or take a bottle while teething. Older babies who are eating more solid food may also have a poor appetite.

Swollen gums

Upon examination of your baby’s gums, you may observe swelling, redness, or bulging. You may even be able to see the teeth or small amounts of pooled blood (will appear to be blue) right below the surface of the gums.

Pulling on the ears

Pain in the gums may radiate to the ears, so you may notice your baby pulling on or rubbing his or her ears more often.

Diarrhea or Fever

There is some debate about whether diarrhea and a low-grade fever are indicative of teething. Some experts believe swallowing so much extra saliva can irritate the digestive system and cause diarrhea or loose stools. Gum irritation can cause a low-grade fever, but most doctors recommend calling your pediatrician if the fever persists for a few days even if you believe it may be related to teething.

Some babies will display all of these signs while others will show no indication of teething until you suddenly notice them poking through the gums! Some babies sprout front teeth with no trouble but become miserable while teething their molars. Whatever the case may be, it is helpful to know what to look for so you can comfort your baby when the time comes.

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This is helpful info for first-time parents. I wouldn't have known these signs before having children if I hadn't volunteered in our church nursery beforehand and learned them from other volunteers.