Teething Symptoms & Advice: What Do Teething Gums Look like?

Many parents look forward to seeing their baby’s first teeth appear. Knowing what to expect and what to do will help ease your child’s discomfort.

When Do Baby Teeth First Start to Appear?

Usually, a baby will show signs of teething around six months, but babies can get their first teeth as early as three months. If you or other close family members got your baby teeth early, there’s a good chance your baby will too. Chewing on toys or fingers or biting can encourage teeth to arrive sooner rather than later.

Generally, the first teeth to appear are the two teeth right at the front of the lower jaw, called the lower central incisors. These are soon followed by the upper front teeth, called upper central incisors, and the upper lateral incisors, which are the two teeth on either side. These lateral incisors usually come through between the age of 8 months to a year. Your baby can expect to get their lower lateral incisors anywhere between 10 months and 16 months.

The very last teeth to make an appearance are the molars. The exact timing can vary quite a bit, but generally, the molars in the upper jaw begin erupting between the age of 13 months and 20 months. The lower molars come through between 14 and 18 months.

How Can I Tell If My Baby Is Teething?

Various signs can indicate your baby is beginning to get their teeth. If you look at their gums, they may look as if they are bulging, red and swollen. Your baby may begin to drool more frequently, and they might have a facial rash, or their cheeks will begin to look flushed. Children who are teething will often start to chew or suck on their toys or fist. Another common sign is noticing your child is pulling their ear on the same side of their face as an erupting tooth. The discomfort caused by teething can create difficulties with feeding, and your baby might become restless during the night or cry more frequently. Some children develop diarrhoea or a fever.

You can gently examine your baby’s mouth using clean fingers and touch them carefully to see if you can feel a hard tooth growing underneath the gums. However, if you spot a blister, called a teething blister, then you shouldn’t touch it. The blister is perfectly normal and should disappear without treatment, but otherwise, come and see us for help and advice.

Relieving Teething Discomfort

Gently massaging your baby’s gums can help provide relief during teething. Otherwise, provide them with something cool to bite down on, such as a clean, damp washcloth left in the fridge for half an hour. Give your baby teething toys that have been pre-chilled in the fridge, but these should not be frozen. Offering your baby cold liquids like plain yoghurt or fruit purée can help soothe uncomfortable gums. If you feel your baby is in pain or excessive discomfort, contact your GP for help and advice.