Because you don’t speak drool, here’s your guide to all the baby teething symptoms.
Yes, the teething period can be a challenge.
Yes, there’ll be moments where you wonder if anyone has ever survived this.
And yes, this too shall all pass.
(There are certain cases where teething comes and goes without any nasty teething symptoms whatsoever. If this is your life, um, silence is a virtue, okay?)
When it comes to teething symptoms, the more you know about what to expect, the easier the journey is going to be.
So what are the most common baby teething symptoms, how long do they last, and what can you do about them?
In this article: 📝
- Life with your teething baby
- Common baby teething symptoms
- Things that are not symptoms of baby teething
- How long do teething symptoms last?
Life with your teething baby
Cutting teeth is a painstaking process.
Sharp objects making baby’s gums swollen?
Wowzer. Definite recipe for pain.
But sometimes it’s not so easy to tell what you’re seeing are baby teething symptoms or if they’re being fussy for some other reason.
They can’t exactly tell you, “Hey mom, my gums hurt!”
Basically, you have to do a lot of detective work to tell if they’re teething symptoms or not, and we’re going to help you do it.
(Having a group of moms around while you go through this can be a game-changer. Peanut can help you out with that.)
How do I know if my baby is in teething pain?
Well, sometimes, you don’t know, until you see those first buds of teeth peeking through baby’s gums.
Then it’s your “Ohhh!” moment, when you realize baby’s fussiness was a teething symptom all along.
And for first-time moms, it can be especially tricky to detect baby teething symptoms, whereas veteran mamas tend to be more eagle-eyed at spying those teething symptoms.
What stage of teething hurts the most?
Usually, it’s when baby’s molars start coming through, between ages 2 and 3 years old, that can hurt the most ‒ mainly down to the surface area of the molar teeth.
After all, a sharper incisor or canine can poke through gums fairly easily, but a wider molar has to push a bit harder.
Is the first tooth the most painful?
Actually, no. Usually, the first teeth (they usually arrive in pairs) are incisors ‒ typically the front top or bottom teeth.
The most painful type of teeth to come in are molars, so once baby’s first teeth have come in, you’ve got a little while until their molars come in (usually around 25-33 months).
What time of day is teething worse?
Well, there’s actually a bit of science behind this.
While teething symptoms, like pain, can be throughout the day (what fun), babies can have a harder time with discomfort during the night.
But at night, there aren’t as many distractions, so they can focus on the pain more, which can mean that, psychologically, they feel it more.
How do you soothe a teething baby?
Some recommendations can help to ease baby’s teething symptoms, but, unfortunately, there are no guarantees.
What works to ease one baby’s teething symptoms may do nothing (or worse ‒ aggravate) another baby’s teething symptoms.
Here are a few ways to soothe teething symptoms:
- Teething rings: Rubber or silicone teething rings can provide some comfort to baby’s aching gums. Our top tip ‒ keep them in the fridge, as cold can help reduce inflammation on their baby’s swollen gums. Our mamas on Peanut love the Itzy Ritzy Teething Ball & Training Toothbrush, a BPA-free, easy-to-hold teething ring to ease teething symptoms.
- Fingers: You may notice that baby’s hands will be in their mouth a lot while they’re teething ‒ just like teething rings, the pressure of chewing (or rather, gumming) their hands can help soothe teething symptoms.
- Baby wipes: Wiping off all that excess drool can help keep baby’s teething rash at bay.
- Baby-friendly painkillers: Baby Tylenol or other prescribed baby-specific medications can help with some teething symptoms, like pain or cold-like symptoms.
- Keep baby entertained: Distractions are great when you have a teething baby. While they don’t technically soothe baby’s teething symptoms, they can help them to focus on something else while their teeth are coming in.
🦷 Dig deeper: 12 Easy Baby Teething Remedies
Do pacifiers help with teething?
Sometimes, yes, pacifiers can help with teething symptoms.
In fact, some mamas on Peanut swear by this Nippii Baby Freezable Teether Pacifier, which you can fill with water and freeze to help ease baby’s teething symptoms.
After something to help distract baby while they’re weaning? How about the NatureBond Baby Food Feeder & Fruit Feeder Pacifier, to which you can add mushed-up fruit or baby food, and freeze for a cooling treat.
Or, if you want something you don’t have to freeze, how about the Mombella Mimi the Mushroom Silicone Teether Toy? Affordable, travel-friendly, and suitable for babies from birth, this is a great solution for easing teething symptoms, particularly in younger babies.
However, the FDA isn’t too keen on teething necklaces and bracelets.
The hazards far outweigh the benefits.
Choking, strangulation, mouth injury, and infection—yeah, just not worth the risk.
Which is better for teething: Tylenol or ibuprofen?
It’s not recommended to give ibuprofen to babies younger than 6 months old (according to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles), but Tylenol should be safe from 2 months and up.
However, whenever you’re giving baby any medicine, even over-the-counter medicine for teething symptoms, it’s best to speak with your doctor.
It’s very easy to accidentally give baby too much medication, even with baby-specific treatments, which can cause health problems.
The FDA advises against using medications that contain benzocaine.
They don’t really help and can lead to a serious condition called methemoglobinemia which attacks red blood cells.
Common baby teething symptoms
So do babies get sick when teething?
They can, yes—but it’s all quite confusing.
Some teething symptoms might look like cold symptoms, and vice versa.
These are some of the more common baby teething symptoms (and some things that might help):
- Drooling: Everywhere, all the time, a lot. More drooling means more bacteria on the skin from the saliva. This can cause a rash on their cheeks, mouth, and even as far down as their necks. So, as much as possible, keep things dry. If a serious rash develops, chat with your healthcare provider about what creams can be of use.
- Biting: They might want to put absolutely anything and everything into their mouths and have a good chew. This is where teething toys come in really handy. They are generally made from silicone, rubber, or wood and come in all shapes and sizes.
- Fussing: Look, we all get fussy when we have dental pain, so fair enough. If they’re in a lot of pain, chat with your doctor about medication to give them. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen might help with some teething symptoms, but best to check in first. Also, know what another amazing antidote to fussiness is? Cuddles. Now that’s a prescription we can all get behind.
- Rubbing: That gum pain may cause your little one to rub their cheeks. This may be more pronounced when it comes to molar eruptions (yup, that stage of the game can be a doozy). A nice little gum massage with clean fingers can go a long way.
- Coughing: All that saliva sometimes goes the wrong way and wants to come up again. So this is a tricky one: when is it a teething symptoms cough, and when is it a cough that means something else? The reality is, it’s pretty hard to tell. If you’re worried, give your doctor a shout.
- Pulling: If you’ve noticed your baby pulling their ears, this could be because of the discomfort their teething is causing them. It can also be an ear infection, so best to call your doctor and rule that out.
If you’re worried about any teething symptoms that feel concerning to you, trust your instincts.
Chat with your healthcare provider. If nothing else, peace of mind goes a long way.
What are the first signs of teething?
The most obvious teething symptom is those pearly whites popping up from baby’s swollen gums, but it can take a few days for a tooth to actually appear.
So how can you tell if it’s a teething symptom before baby’s teeth come in?
Well, sometimes, you can’t.
But if you notice a few different teething symptoms, sometimes, you can piece it together.
What does teething poop look like?
Do babies get diarrhea when teething? Generally, no.
Looking at the different teething symptoms, diarrhea isn’t actually one of them.
But you may notice baby’s poop looking a little looser or more mucus-y than usual, due to the excess drool they’re swallowing as one of their teething symptoms.
Does teething cause rash on face?
Yes, when it comes to teething symptoms, rashes are pretty common.
It’s a reaction to the excess drool baby’s producing from their teething.
Lots of babies get rashes as teething symptoms, so this can be a tell-tale sign.
Can teething look like a cold?
Can teething cause cold symptoms?
Again, all that extra drool can cause teething symptoms like coughs and sniffles.
So if you’re on the hunt for other teething symptoms, a runny nose might be one of the culprits.
Then again, it also might not.
If baby’s cold symptoms are accompanied by more chewing, swollen gums, and drooling, then it’s more likely to be teething symptoms.
Can baby get ear infection from teething?
No, teething symptoms don’t cause ear infections.
But you may mistake teething symptoms with an ear infection.
This is because one of the teething symptoms is for baby to pull on their ear ‒ they’re not able to pull at their gums, and their ear is probably about the closest, stretchiest thing they can pull.
Do teething babies nap more?
For some babies, yes. For some babies, no.
It’s pretty much luck of the draw.
Some babies will feel ‘under the weather’ with teething, so they’ll sleep more.
Other babies will be more aware of their teething symptoms like pain, so they may sleep less.
Does teething cause baby to wake up screaming?
Sorry to say, mama, but yes, teething can cause baby to wake up in the night screaming.
Hang in there!
Do babies eat less when teething?
Yes, not wanting to eat can be a common teething symptom.
Basically, baby’s mouth hurts, so they may not want to have anything else in there right now.
Particularly in babies who are weaning, you may notice a lack of appetite as a teething symptom.
Can teething cause 102 fever?
When it comes to teething symptoms, fevers aren’t all that common.
Baby’s temperature might raise a little, up to around 102°F, but that’s not actually classed as a fever.
If baby’s temperature does go over 102°F, then you could be looking at something else, so it’s best to get baby to a doctor.
Do babies get sick when teething?
Just like fevers, with teething symptoms, vomiting doesn’t happen often.
Vomiting as a teething symptom tends to happen mainly if baby is crying a lot, which can cause them to vomit if they’re particularly upset.
But if baby is vomiting often, it’s not likely to be a teething symptom, and it’s a good idea to pay a visit to your doctor.
2-year-old teething symptoms
What about older babies’ teething symptoms?
Well, from around the age of 2 years old, your toddler’s molars will start coming in.
This won’t be a particularly fun time in their teething journey, as it can be the most painful stage of teething.
If you think your toddler is teething, look out for these 2-year-old teething symptoms:
- Chewing on whatever they can get their hands on.
- Irritability and less cooperation than usual.
- A slight increase in temperature (around 100°F).
- More drool than usual.
- Red, swollen gums.
5-year-old teething molars symptoms
What about even older kids?
Well, molars can come in over a few years, so here are some key 5-year-old teething molars symptoms to look out for:
- Swollen gums.
- Lack of sleep.
- Pain around their jaw.
Things that are not symptoms of baby teething
If your baby has these symptoms, definitely call your doctor.
These are not common baby teething symptoms:
- High fever: If your baby is younger than 3 months, any sort of fever is worth raising the alarm bells. If they are older than three months, a fever over 102°F (38.9℃) is cause for concern. Any fever that doesn’t come down after a day or two should also be checked out by a doctor.
- Serious stomach trouble: If your baby has diarrhea or is vomiting, give your doctor a shout.
Is fever normal with teething?
No ‒ when it comes to teething symptoms, fevers aren’t a common sign.
If baby’s temperature is over 102°F, get them to a doctor as soon as possible.
How long do fevers last with teething?
Baby may have a slightly raised temperature of about 100°F, which should go away in just a couple of days while their teeth make their appearance.
How long do teething symptoms last?
Per tooth? Teething symptoms tend to last only about eight days.
For the entire teething journey to be over? Expect those teething symptoms to wax and wane over about two and a half to three years.
On average, babies start teething at around 6 months old.
By about three years old, they’ll be grinning at you with a mouthful of baby teeth.
The teething period happens a little something like this:
- Central incisors (front teeth) come in somewhere between 3 months and 13 months. The bottom ones typically come out first.
- Lateral incisors (on either side of the central incisors) come in somewhere between 8 and 16 months.
- Primary molars (towards the back) come in somewhere between 13 and 18 months.
- Canines (between the molars and the incisors) come in somewhere between 16 and 23 months.
- Second molars (at the back) come in somewhere between 23 and 33 months. Be warned: this can be the most trying of all the phases.
Now, because nothing to do with mamahood is straightforward, more than one tooth can come out at once.
Of course, this can cause some extra drama for everyone and up the ante on whatever teething symptoms they’re experiencing.
How long does it take for tooth to break through gums?
After you spot swollen baby gums, you can expect to see some teeny tiny tooth buds around 4 days after you notice the first baby teething symptoms.
Then it should be another 3 days before the tooth has fully broken through.
And finally, here’s your friendly reminder to pop some serious self-care into your schedule if you haven’t done so already.
Breathing exercises, journaling, chatting with friends—are not luxuries.
You are absolutely allowed to take the time, especially when coping with baby teething symptoms.
Good luck, mama.
👶 More on baby milestones:
When Do Babies Start Walking? Your Toddling Timeline
When Do Babies Start Talking?
When Do Babies See Color?
When Do Babies Start Smiling?
When Do Babies Sit Up?
When Do Babies Start Teething?
When Do Babies Stop Spitting Up?
When Do Babies Start Cooing?
When Do Babies Get Kneecaps?
When Do Babies Grow Hair?
When Do Babies Clap?
When Do Babies Start Dreaming?
When Do Babies Make Eye Contact?
What Are the Different Stages of Crawling?
When Can Babies Eat Baby Food?
Baby Growth Spurts: What are the Milestones?
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