Teething troubles

What You Can Do

Everyone loves babies—except when they’re wailing. Teething may be the problem.

Teething occurs when baby teeth start coming through the child’s gums, usually beginning at about age 6 months. Soothe sore gums with a clean finger, teething ring, cool spoon, cold wet washcloth, or pacifier. Your dentist or pediatrician also may recommend a special numbing salve for the gums.

Your baby actually grew his or her baby teeth before birth. As teeth begin to move to the surface and penetrate the gums, babies may become fussy, sleepless, and irritable.

Other teething tip-offs include increased drooling and more desire to bite and chew on things. Sometimes a harmless white blister called an “eruption cyst” develops at the site of the emerging tooth.

Teething behavior in infants and toddlers is perfectly normal. There is no evidence that it causes high fevers, diarrhea, or facial rashes. By age 3, all 20 baby teeth should have emerged.


“How Do I Care for My Child’s Baby Teeth?” Academy of General Dentistry, February 2007. http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=H&iid=296&aid=1173 Accessed 2013.

“Teething.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/teething. Accessed 2013.

“Tooth Eruption: The Primary Teeth.” Journal of the American Dental Association. November 2005, vol. 136, p. 1619. http://www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_56.pdf Accessed 2013.

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