Teething in Babies: What Does It Mean?

All babies experience teething differently. Some babies will virtually show no symptoms of teething while others will experience teething pain for a couple of months causing him or her to be super cranky. However, there are some signs that a mom could look out for as this significant developmental milestone comes. Knowing what to expect will make the teething process much easier for a mom and the little one.


Symptoms of Teething in Babies

Teething in babies mostly begins at six months. However, you should not be alarmed if your baby starts teething at three months or even as late as 12 months; it is perfectly normal. The fact remains that when your baby is three years old, he or she will have approximately 20 primary teeth.

In most cases, the lower front teeth will appear first with the upper front teeth following closely 1 to 2 months later. The following are possible signs you should look out for right before you begin to see a little pearly white poking through the gums.

The Constant Need to Gnaw

The emerging pearly whites usually cause some pressure on the gums; this causes the child to feel the need to constantly comp on stuff. The counter pressure brought about by chewing could somehow relieve the pressure from inside. The need to gnaw is a response to the very odd feeling your little one is feeling.

Swollen Gums

Right before teeth emerge through the gums, they cause the little one’s gums to have some redness, puffiness and bruises. This is because the gum bulges with an emerging tooth which you could see if your baby opened his or her mouth.


Excessive drooling could signal teething, but this is a pretty normal developmental milestone; meaning that drooling does not necessarily have to be caused by teething. Drooling as a result of teething happens as a result of the constant chewing your child is doing; this stimulates the salivary glands to produce more saliva.

Crankiness More so at Night

Teeth eruption is a process that involves the movement of teeth through the bones and gums. This process comes in different stages where there is more movement during night time; this means that your baby will be crankier at this time than during the day.

Change in the Child’s Eating Habits

If your baby is already in the weaning stage (eating solids), you will notice that as the tooth erupts, they prefer bottle-feeding or nursing to feeding using a spoon; this is because the spoon hurts the gums that are already inflamed.

However, other babies may eat more as the counter-pressure that takes place when chewing is soothing to the gums. Some babies who are still nursing or bottle feeding may also start off by feeding eagerly, but after a short time, they begin to pull back as the process of sucking brings forth an odd feeling to the gums and even the ear canals.

Pulling of the Ears

Ear pulling could be a sign of ear infection but also a symptom that shows that your baby is teething. Jaw pain caused by the eruption of the teeth gets transferred to the ear canal. And we know bad your tinnitus might have been, but this is usually not as severe for your baby.

Tips to Soothe Pain

Every child will prefer one pain soothing technique to another. For this reason, you will have to try a couple of methods to know which one works best for your little one.

Use of a Frozen Wet Thick Cloth

The thick cloth feels good on the puffy gums while the cool feeling will numb the sore gums. Alternatively, you could use a teething toy which has been left in the refrigerator for some time to freeze. However, frozen toys are at times very harsh on the gums of the toddler.

Gentle Massage

This trick does wonders in cases where the tooth has not yet erupted from the gum as there is no bruise yet. With a clean finger which is bare or wrapped in a cloth, gently rub the area; the counter pressure and friction feeling cause the odd feeling to go away temporarily.

Pain Killers

Teething pain is just as annoying as that persistent headache; it causes one to experience discomfort. Pain medication such as ibuprofen and Acetaminophen will temporarily relieve your baby off the pain. No matter how bad the situation is, be careful with the dosage.

Distract your Little One

Just like headache pain, teething pain is super annoying and uncomfortable. Distracting your baby is one other sure way of getting their mind off the pain. You can soothe your child with a new toy or by playing games he or she likes. However, just as the medics say, if symptoms persist, seek medical advice.

Teething is not an illness, but some of the symptoms could be signs and symptoms of a disease and not teething. Therefore, if the symptoms persist, take your baby to a health practitioner.

Jones, M. (2002). Teething in children and the alleviation of symptoms. The journal of family health care, 12(1), 12-13.

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