When do babies start teething?
Some babies are born with their first teeth. Others start teething before they are 4 months old, and some after 12 months. But most babies start teething at around 6 months.
Baby teeth sometimes emerge with no pain or discomfort at all. At other times, you may notice that:
your baby's gum is sore and red where the tooth is coming through
one cheek is flushed
your baby is dribbling more than usual
they are gnawing and chewing on everything constantly
they are more fretful than usual
Here's a rough guide to how babies' teeth usually emerge:
Bottom incisors (bottom front teeth) – these are usually the first to come through, usually at around 5 to 7 months.
Top incisors (top front teeth) – these tend to come through at about 6 to 8 months.
Top lateral incisors (either side of the top front teeth) – these come through at around 9 to 11 months.
Bottom lateral incisors (either side of the bottom front teeth) – these come through at around 10 to 12 months.
First molars (back teeth) – these come through at around 12 to 16 months.
Canines (next along from lateral incisors) – these come through at around 16 to 20 months.
Second molars – these come through at around 20 to 30 months.
Most children will have all of their milk teeth by the time they are two and a half years old.
Teething can be distressing for some babies, but there are ways to make it easier for them.
Every baby is different, and you may have to try a few different things until you find something that works for your baby.
Teething rings give your baby something to chew safely. This may ease their discomfort and distract them from any pain.
Some teething rings can be cooled first in the fridge, which may help to soothe your baby's gums. The instructions that come with the ring should tell you how long to chill it for. Never put a teething ring in the freezer, as it could damage your baby's gums if it freezes.
Also, never tie a teething ring around your baby's neck, as it may be a choking hazard.
For babies over four months old, you can rub sugar-free teething gel on their gums. You can get teething gel from your local pharmacy.
Teething gels often contain a mild local anaesthetic, which helps to numb any pain or discomfort caused by teething. The gels may also contain antiseptic ingredients, which help to prevent infection in any sore or broken skin in your baby's mouth. Make sure you use a teething gel that's specially designed for young children and not a general oral pain relief gel, as these aren't suitable for children. Your pharmacist can advise you.
It's best to talk to your pharmacist or GP before using a teething gel for babies under four months old.
Preventing teething rashes
If teething is making your baby dribble more than usual, gently wiping their face often may help to prevent a rash.
Caring for your baby's new teeth
You'll need to register your baby with a dentist when their teeth start coming through – find a dentist near you.
Start brushing your baby's teeth with fluoride toothpaste as soon as their first milk tooth breaks through.
For more advice, read about looking after your baby's teeth.
What's the best way to soothe sore gums?
If your teething baby seems uncomfortable, consider these simple tips:
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.
Teething biscuits. From the age of 6 months, your baby can have teething biscuits – hard biscuits designed for baby to chew on that relieve sore gums.