All about teething

The onset of teething varies greatly, but it typically starts somewhere between 4- and 10-months-old, with some late bloomers getting their first tooth closer to the one-year mark. As with most milestones, girls tend to get their first tooth before boys and preemies tend to start teething a little later.

These are the symptoms:

  • Drooling.
  • Swollen, bulging gums.
  • A tooth visible below the gum.
  • Ear rubbing (especially on the side of the tooth emergence).
  • Irritability.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Trying to bite, chew, and suck on everything.
  • Rubbing her face.
  • Rejecting food.


  • Give your baby Anaesthetic gels. In terms of providing relief, paediatric dentist Dr John Walsh discourages parents from applying anaesthetic gels, “as trying to get it on exactly the right spot in a baby’s mouth can be difficult and quite often they will ingest it or the gel can numb the throat which can be a distressing experience for a small baby.”
  • Use homeopathic remedies to soothe your baby’s pain. Dr Walsh says it is best to avoid products which haven’t been fully tested. “While I’m not saying that they don’t work, I would just be concerned about giving a baby something which hasn’t been properly tested,” he states. 
  • Be afraid to take your baby to the GP. Dr Walsh says the most crucial aspect to dealing with teething is to make sure other, more serious, conditions are not mistaken for teething. “Back when I was first training, I remember being told that everything and the kitchen sink is passed off as teething and this can be detrimental,” he says. “So I would advise parents to really watch their babies and if they are very distressed or out of sorts, seek medical advice as there could be something else at play which needs medication or some other treatment. So while I don’t want to alarm parents, I want to make sure they don’t feel hesitant about taking their babies to the doctor – you know your baby better than anyone, so if you feel there is more to their distress than teething, make sure to seek advice.”


  • Rub your baby’s gums. Use a clean finger or moistened gauze pad to rub your baby’s gums. The pressure can ease your baby’s discomfort.
  • Keep it cool. A cold washcloth, spoon or chilled teething ring can be soothing on a baby’s gums. Don’t give your baby a frozen teething ring, however.
  • Try hard foods. If your baby is eating solid foods, you might offer something edible for gnawing — such as a peeled and chilled cucumber or carrot. Keep a close eye on your baby, however. Any pieces that break off might pose a choking hazard.
  • Dry the drool. Excessive drooling is part of the teething process. Having a teething ring, fingers or other objects in the mouth produces saliva. To prevent skin irritation, keep a clean cloth handy to dry your baby’s chin. Consider applying a moisturizer such as a water-based cream or lotion.
  • Try an over-the-counter remedy. If your baby is especially cranky, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Children’s Motrin, others) might help.

Best teething ring

Sophie La Girafe. It’s easy to grab and hold, 100% natural, soft rubber. It isn’t too loud when it squeaks and seems firm enough to make a difference in discomfort level. Sophie La Girafe is also very easy to wash!

Caring for baby teeth

  • As soon as the first tooth emerges, brush the teeth gently twice per day using just water and a small toothbrush. Good habits started early last a lifetime. The night time brush is the most important to establish as food left on teeth at night can cause tooth decay rapidly.
  • First dental visit should be at around 1 year old.
  • Once baby reaches two years, brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste at least twice each day.
  • If baby uses a bottle, do not use it as a comforter and do not let baby sleep or nap with a bottle in the mouth
  • Never put sweet drinks including fruit juice into the bottle.
  • Milk and water are the most tooth-friendly drinks. Give cooled boiled water until baby is one year old.
  • Start using a cup from 6 months old and wean you baby off bottle feeding by 12 months.
  • Do not add sugar to baby’s food and if your baby uses a dummy, never dip it in anything sweet.