Baby with teething toy smiling with towel
Babies, Tips / How-Tos

Baby Teething: What to Expect

What Baby Teeth Come In First?

When your child begins teething, what can you expect? For starters, know that on average, teeth erupt between 6–7 months of age. A good rule of thumb is the rule of 4’s: You can expect about four teeth every four months starting around seven months of age. There are 20 baby teeth total, and they’re usually all present by two-and-a-half years of age.

Nurture Life Primary Teeth Eruption Chart
Some babies start teething as early as three months or as late as 15 months. This is considered normal and can be attributed to genetics.

When your baby begins to eat real food, challenges may arise, especially if they’re teething. Many times, parents confuse teething pain with a disinterest in food. Your baby is also forming new skills with self-feeding, which can be frustrating for them. This is a great time to introduce teethers. Some babies are comforted by the texture and cold feel of teethers.

When feeding your baby, take your time in determining if your baby will more readily accept purees or soups. Also, try offering healthy popsicles or frozen foods in a silicone or mesh feeder, like the Boon PULP Silicone Teething Feeder or the Munchkin Deluxe Fresh Food Feeder. Cubed mango, seedless watermelon or mixed vegetables are all good choices, and the cool temperature will soothe their gums and teeth.

Signs and Symptoms of Baby Teething

Fun Fact:

About 1 in every 2,000 babies is born with teeth! These are called “natal teeth.”

Different babies exhibit different signs of teething. You might see a low-grade fever (less than 101°F), excessive drooling and an increased interest in putting objects or fingers in their mouth. Since drooling can cause rashes on the face, neck or upper chest area, try having your baby wear a cloth bib as they’re teething. Pat their cheeks and chin dry, then apply a thin layer of healing ointment (such as Aquaphor), to help soothe the rash and prevent further irritation. Excessive drool can also cause loose stools. Use diaper cream to protect your baby’s bottom from diaper rash and irritation.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if you have an infant younger than four months old with a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or above, you should immediately call your pediatrician or go to an emergency room. This could be a sign of a potentially life-threatening infection.

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When Should I See a Pediatrician or Dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child’s first dental visit occurs when their first tooth erupts or age one, whichever comes first. The purpose of the first visit is to give you an opportunity to establish a relationship with your child’s dentist in case there’s ever an emergency. This visit also allows the dentist to review healthy eating guidelines and home-care recommendations, discuss oral habits and evaluate growth and development of your child. It’s a great time to ask questions related to teething and find out what to expect in the coming months.

For more information about Dr. Reena’s work at Growing Smiles, please visit the Growing Smiles website.

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Dr. Reena Shah, DDS, Growing Smiles

Dr. Reena is a pediatric dentist at Growing Smiles, Ann and Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, a national distinction achieved by very few pediatric dentists. She received her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Dental Surgery degrees from the University of Michigan before moving to Chicago to complete a General Practice Residency in a joint program with the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago. Dr. Reena completed her residency in pediatric dentistry at Northwestern University, where she was invited to stay on as an attending and help train current residents. Recently she was elected an officer for the Illinois Society of Pediatric Dentists working at a state and national level with others in her specialty. In her free time, Dr. Reena works with CARE, an organization that advocates for women and children worldwide. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters traveling as well as discovering new things in Chicago.