Teething Troubles: Beyond the Gnawing

Teething typically begins around 6 months of age, although it can start as early as 3 months or as late as 12 months. The first teeth to emerge are usually the lower central incisors


As a parent, watching your little one go through the teething process can be a challenging and emotional experience. Teething, a natural developmental milestone, can cause discomfort and irritability in babies. However, it’s essential to separate fact from fiction when it comes to teething symptoms and remedies. In this article, we’ll delve into the teething process, debunk common myths, and provide practical tips for managing your baby’s teething pain.

Understanding the Teething Process:

Teething typically begins around 6 months of age, although it can start as early as 3 months or as late as 12 months. The first teeth to emerge are usually the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors. Over the course of the next two years, your baby will develop a total of 20 primary teeth.

As teeth push through the gums, babies may experience various symptoms, including:

  1. Excessive drooling
  2. Irritability and fussiness
  3. Disrupted sleep patterns
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Chewing or gnawing on objects
  6. Swollen or tender gums

Debunking Teething Myths:

One common myth surrounding teething is that it causes high fever. While teething can slightly elevate a baby’s body temperature, it rarely causes a fever above 101°F (38.3°C). If your baby has a high fever, it’s more likely due to an underlying illness or infection and should be evaluated by a healthcare provider.

Another myth is that teething causes diarrhea. While some babies may experience looser stools during teething, diarrhea is not a direct symptom. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so if your baby has persistent diarrhea, consult your pediatrician.

Managing Teething Pain:

There are several safe and effective ways to help alleviate your baby’s teething discomfort:

  1. Teething Toys: Offer your baby safe, BPA-free teething toys designed for chewing. Textured or chilled teething toys can provide extra relief. Always supervise your baby while they use teething toys to prevent choking hazards.
  2. Cold Compress: A cold washcloth or chilled teething ring can help numb sore gums. Avoid freezing teething toys, as extreme cold can damage delicate gum tissue.
  3. Gentle Massage: Gently massaging your baby’s gums with a clean finger or soft, damp gauze can provide temporary relief.
  4. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: If your baby is over 6 months old and experiencing significant discomfort, consult your pediatrician about using infant-safe pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Always follow the recommended dosage instructions.
  5. Teething Gels: While some parents use topical teething gels, it’s important to exercise caution. Many contain benzocaine, which can cause rare but serious side effects. Consult your pediatrician before using any teething gels.


Teething can be a trying time for both babies and parents, but understanding the process and having a toolkit of safe remedies can help manage the discomfort. Remember, every baby experiences teething differently, and what works for one may not work for another. If you have concerns about your baby’s teething or overall health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician for guidance.

With patience, love, and the right tools, you can help your little one navigate the teething journey and celebrate each new tooth as a milestone in their development.


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