Teething signs and symptoms

An infant’s first tooth usually emerges around 6 to 9 months of age, and by the age of 3 a full set of 20 milk teeth should be present. Some infants go through teething without any problem, and the teeth come through quite fast one after the other, or even a few at a time, and for some infants it can take longer and more teething symptoms can be present causing restlessness and irritability.

Symptoms of teething can occur months before a tooth appears, however, if you are unsure that the symptoms your child is experiencing is caused through teething, get a second opinion from a health professional to put your mind at ease. Teething should not make a child unwell, so any other symptoms that are not listed below should be checked out.

Signs of teething to look out for are as follows:

Irritability, restlessness and disturbed sleep

Once the teething process starts and throughout each stage your child may become agitated and restless along with other teething symptoms. The gums can feel tender and sore, and there may be some pain experienced as the tooth pushes through the surface. You may find he or she is waking during the night crying, or is restless during peak teething times. This can be a difficult time for some infants; however, some may not be overly fazed by the teething process.

Excessive dribbling

Be prepared for plenty of dribbling. You are going to want quite a few spare T-shirts to keep your child dry to prevent skin irritation and chapping from occurring. From the excess saliva, you may notice more dirty diapers that are slightly looser than usual; however, this is quite normal. Your child’s cheeks may look red and flushed and a rash could develop around the mouth from excess dribbling, however, this is nothing to be concerned about.

Loss of appetite, lack of interest in food

Infants can sometimes lose their appetite during teething and show less interest in food, as their gums can become quite sore. This can cause more pain and discomfort when trying to eat. During this time revert back to soft and mashed foods that require minimal chewing. It will only be a short time before your infant is back to eating normally again.

Red, inflamed and even swollen gums

You may find your child chewing and gnawing on everything to ease the pain, this is quite normal as your child is trying to get relief by putting pressure on his or her gums. You may notice the gums look red and sore where a tooth is ready to erupt, and the gums can also become swollen and look quite tender. Sometimes little white marks or openings on the gums will be visible where the teeth are ready to emerge.

All infants cope differently with teething, some will sail through and make no fuss, whilst others will show all the signs of teething and need all the comfort and love they can get to ease them through this time. A lot of other symptoms have been noted, but health experts say that a baby should not suffer any serious adverse effects from teething. However, if your infant has any other symptoms, or you are worried at all then it is wise to seek medical advice.