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What Are the Symptoms of Baby Teething?

When your baby is around 4 to 7 months old, it’s common to see signs of teething. The process of teething may cause some discomfort for your little one as she gets her first set of teeth. These baby or primary teeth, which can appear from as young as 3 months or even as old as 12 to 14 months, will start to grow and eventually have to break through the gums. This can cause swelling and soreness just before the tooth comes through. In very rare cases, some babies (about 1 in 2000) may even be born with a tooth already visible. It’s important to be able to recognize teething symptoms so you’ll know what to expect when your baby starts to show signs of those first tiny teeth. And, when you’re faced with those teething tears, see our tips on how to soothe your teething baby.

Common Signs of Teething

As your baby grows and develops in those first few months, you can expect the front teeth to appear first at around 4 to 7 months, and the symptoms often show up about three to five days before the tooth is visible. You can find out more in our teething timeline. Keep an eye out for any of these common signs of teething in infants:

  • More biting. Teething infants may bite on their toys or even fingers to help relieve the pressure they feel on their gums.
  • Loss of appetite. Babies may lose their appetite or refuse to eat and drink because their mouth hurts.
  • More drooling. One of the signs a baby is teething is an increase in drooling. As a result of excessive drooling some babies may get diarrhea, which can in turn lead to diaper rash. If you notice loose stools, make sure your baby is not dehydrated, and if you see any other symptoms like a high fever or stools containing blood or pus, then contact your doctor.
  • Rash around the mouth area. Excessive drooling may cause a mild rash around the baby’s mouth, chin and chest, so it’s important to keep an eye on the baby, and wipe any drool away. Take care not to wipe too often, though, as this can also irritate the skin.
  • More sucking. Like biting, this symptom is a result of your baby trying to relieve the pressure from a tooth that’s about to come up from the gums.
  • Ear pulling. This may seem like an unusual baby teething symptom, but some infants may pull on their ears to help relieve the pain due to those sore gums.
  • Difficulty sleeping. Due to the discomfort from the swelling and soreness, your baby may find it difficult to sleep at night or during naptime. See our tips on how to make it easier for your infant to get to sleep.
  • Irritability. Don’t be surprised if your little one is fussy or cranky when new teeth are on their way. Those sore gums that come with teething are likely to make your baby feel more than a little irritable. Keeping your teething baby distracted or comforting her with snuggling can sometimes help with the pain.
  • Teething fever. It's possible that a baby who is teething may have a slightly elevated body temperature, sometimes known as teething fever. However, a true fever — a temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit — is not associated with teething, and could be the sign of an illness or infection that may require treatment. Contact your baby's healthcare provider if your baby is clearly uncomfortable, if the fever persists or is greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or if your baby has any other symptoms of illness.

Growing teeth is not a competitive sport, and your baby’s teeth will arrive when they’re ready. Don’t be worried if they don’t show up according to schedule, because each child is different. See our infographic below for more information on the teething signs and symptoms to watch out for, as well as some quick tips on how to soothe a teething baby.

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