Understanding Baby Teething: Onset and Duration Explained | 4 min read

Babies reaching their teething milestones is an exciting yet challenging phase for parents. The eruption of those first tiny teeth can bring about a range of emotions and experiences for both the baby and the family. Understanding when babies start teething, and the duration of this process can help parents navigate this developmental stage more confidently and efficiently.

When Does Teething Begin?

Teething marks the emergence of a baby’s primary teeth, also known as milk or deciduous teeth, through the gums. Most babies start teething around six months, but the timing can vary widely. Some infants may begin teething as early as three months, while others might not start until they are over a year old.

The process of teething is individualised, and factors such as genetics, overall development, and even gender may influence when a baby’s teeth emerge. In some rare cases, babies are born with teeth already visible, a condition known as natal teeth, which occurs in about one in every 2,000 to 3,000 births.

5 Stages of Teething in Infants

Stage 1: (0-6 months) Babies are born with twenty teeth beneath the gums.

Stage 2: (6 months) The first teeth to erupt are the upper and lower incisors (front teeth)

Stage 3: (10-14 months) Primary Molars erupt.

Stage 4: (16-22 months) Canine teeth (between incisors and molars on top and bottom) will erupt.

Stage 5: (25-33 months) Large molars erupt.

Signs and Symptoms of Teething

Recognising the signs and symptoms of teething can help parents provide appropriate care and comfort for their little ones. While not all babies experience the same symptoms, common signs of teething may include:

1. Increased Drooling:

Teething stimulates saliva production, leading to excessive drooling. This can sometimes cause skin irritation around the mouth and chin.

2. Irritability and Fussiness:

Discomfort from teething can make babies irritable and fussy. They may cry more than usual and seek extra comfort from caregivers.

3. Gnawing and Chewing:

Babies often find relief from teething discomfort by gnawing and chewing on various objects. Providing safe teething toys can help soothe their gums.

4. Swollen or Tender Gums:

The pressure of emerging teeth can cause the gums to become swollen and tender. Massaging the gums with a clean finger or a cool, damp cloth may offer relief.

5. Changes in Eating and Sleeping Patterns:

Teething discomfort can affect a baby’s appetite and sleep patterns. They may show a decreased interest in feeding or experience disrupted sleep due to discomfort.

How Long Does Teething Last?

Teething typically lasts about 2 to 3 years from when the first tooth emerges until the last ones appear. By age 3, most children will have their complete set of 20 primary teeth. However, the intensity and duration of teething symptoms can vary from one child to another.

While some babies breeze through the teething process with minimal discomfort, others may experience more pronounced symptoms that interfere with daily routines. Fortunately, there are several strategies parents can use to help alleviate teething discomfort and support their baby’s well-being:

How to Alleviate the Discomfort of The Teething Process

Parents frequently experience distress when observing their baby’s discomfort. The constant crying can leave them feeling utterly helpless. However, there’s no need to despair. Teething is a natural process that every parent and baby must navigate. By implementing the following strategies, symptoms can be alleviated, bringing relief to parents, caregivers, and the infants themselves.

  • Provide Teething Toys: Offering safe, age-appropriate teething toys can give babies something safe to chew on and help relieve gum soreness.
  • Use Cold Compresses: Chilled teething rings or a clean, damp washcloth in the refrigerator (not freezer) can relieve sore gums.
  • Try Over-the-Counter Remedies: Over-the-counter teething gels or pain relievers designed explicitly for infants can temporarily relieve teething discomfort. However, following the recommended dosage and consulting with a paediatrician before using any medication is essential.
  • Offer Comfort and Affection: Sometimes, all a teething baby needs is extra love and attention from caregivers. Holding, cuddling, and comforting them can help ease their distress during this challenging time.

In conclusion, understanding when babies start teething and the duration of this process can help parents navigate this developmental milestone more effectively. By recognising the signs and symptoms of teething and employing appropriate soothing techniques, parents can support their baby’s comfort and well-being as they embark on this exciting journey of growth and development.


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