• By 1300SMILES Densits
  • June 24, 2022

Your baby’s firsts are much-anticipated: their first smile, first word, first night slept through – the list goes on.

But there is one first that many parents dread: baby’s first tooth.

When baby teeth start erupting through their gums, it’s often not just bub who’s crying up a storm. So, we’ve put together the top eight tips to help soothe your teething baby at home.

We’ve also answered some frequently asked questions to help target any teething worries.

Eight tips to soothing sore, teething gums

1.    A gentle gum massage

With a clean finger or cool spoon, apply gentle pressure to your baby’s gums to help alleviate the pain. You can also wrap a cold, clean washcloth around your finger and massage it against their gums.

2.    Chilled teething rings

Teething rings are another great way to relieve pain through gentle pressure. Chilled teething rings are particularly helpful, as the cool temperature takes the edge off the pain while your baby gnaws away.

Remember not to freeze the ring, as this can hurt your baby’s gums. As always, be sure to follow the  manufacturer’s advice, and never tie rings around your baby’s neck.

3.    Chilled rusks for children who are eating solids

If your little one is over six months old and has started solids,[i] you might like to try chilled sugar-free rusks or teething biscuits.

4.    Distract from the teething pain

When you notice your baby fussing, distract them as much as possible with comforting hugs and affection. Also, play plenty of games with them to try to take their mind off the pain in their mouth – even if it’s only short-lived relief.

5.    Try to stick to a regular bedtime

‘Try’ is the operative word here! You’re doing all you can to get your bub to settle, yet teething often triumphs over each naptime.

However, putting your baby down at their regular bedtime can help keep some semblance of their routine, even if they’re not settling right away.

Try popping on some white noise to help cover up any outside distractions. Also, consider trying a gentle gum massage before bed to take the edge off their discomfort.

6.    Wipe away excess drool

Excess drooling can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin. As such, when you see it pool on their chin, gently wipe it away with a clean, soft cloth; this will help keep the red rash at bay.

7.    Try to stay as calm as possible

Teething can be a trying time for everyone in your household, especially when nothing seems to work for long. If you can, take some deep breaths and remember that this stage will soon pass once the tooth has settled into its spot. Your little one can also pick up on your emotions, so try not to panic.

If you’re struggling or worried, never hesitate to reach out to your child’s doctor for advice.

8.    Ask your child’s doctor about medical pain relief

While it is best to keep this option as a last resort, some tots struggle with the pain, and it seems not much else will help.

There are some medicines available specifically designed for babies and toddlers. However, before administering any medicine to your child, make sure you talk to their doctor to see if it is suitable or needed.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if my baby is teething?

For many babies and toddlers, the signs are hard to miss. These teething symptoms can include:

  • excessive drooling
  • crankiness and fussiness
  • refusing to eat or not eating as much as usual
  • gnawing or sucking on their fist or your hand
  • pulling at their ears
  • flushed cheeks
  • more dirty nappies than usual
  • trouble settling for sleep, especially at night.

These symptoms often pop up from about four to seven months, when the first few teeth usually start breaking through their gums.

When should I take my teething baby to the doctor?

If you’re ever unsure about your baby’s symptoms, contact their doctor right away. It also doesn’t hurt to reach out if you cannot settle your baby and need some advice specific to your little one’s needs.

Also, keep in mind that while teething presents typical symptoms, it usually won’t cause:

  • fever (38 degrees Celsius or more) – however, teething can cause a slight increase in temperature
  • diarrhoea
  • rashes (aside from chin rashes due to drooling).[ii]

If your child has any of these symptoms, they may be unwell and should see their doctor.

What should I avoid for my teething baby?

There are some home remedies that you should avoid for your teething baby. These include:

  • amber necklaces or bracelets. These items can pose as strangulation or choking hazards;
  • adding sugar, honey or jam to their dummy, teething ring or bottle teat: these can cause dental decay and don’t aid in pain relief;
  • placing frozen items into your baby’s mouth. Avoid placing freezing teething rings, rusks or washcloths into your baby’s mouth – very cold temperatures can hurt their gums;
  • adding medications to your baby’s bottle or food. Ensure you talk to your baby’s doctor about how to administer any approved medications safely.

How long does it take for a tooth to cut through?

While each child is different, teething can take about eight days. About four of these days occur before the tooth erupts, and three days follow it.

Is teething pain worse at night?

Your baby may not cope as well with their teething pain at night as they’ll have fewer distractions when they’re going to sleep. As such, they’ll likely focus on their pain. They may also have less tolerance for the discomfort as they are often exhausted.

I can see a blue-grey bubble on my baby’s gum. What is it?

This bubble is likely an eruption cyst and will usually resolve itself without needing any intervention. These cysts can occur before the tooth is about to appear.

How long will it take before all of my child’s baby teeth come in?

Every child is different, so your little one may get certain teeth faster or slower than others their age. Generally, your baby will often show their first teeth at around six months old.

By the time your baby is three, they will likely have all twenty baby teeth. When they’re six, they’ll often start losing these baby teeth to welcome in their adult teeth.

If you’re ever unsure about your baby’s teething, take them to your dentist to see if everything looks as it should.

How do I take care of my baby’s new teeth?

Once your baby’s first tooth arrives, it’s important to take care of it to avoid tooth decay. After all, they’ll have some of their baby teeth until they’re about 12 years old!

You can carefully wipe your child’s first teeth with clean gauze from front to back. You can also use a soft, small baby toothbrush and water only. Once they’re 18-months-old, you can introduce a small amount of low-fluoride toothpaste.

Be sure to also book their first dental visit within six months of their first tooth arriving or when they hit 12 months old, whichever occurs sooner. Learn more about taking your child to the dentist.

Protect your child’s smile by visiting our friendly dentists

Do you have any questions about your baby’s teething? Or are they ready to see a dentist for their first check-up? Book to see a 1300SMILES dentist near you today!

From teaching you how to properly care for your baby’s teeth to helping older children learn about proper oral health routines: we’re committed to setting up healthy smiles from childhood.

  • [i] Queensland Health. ‘Teething 101: Is my baby teething?’ Last updated August 2019. Date accessed November 2021.
  • [ii] Queensland Government. ’Teething’. Last updated 2017. Accessed November 2021.
  • Australian Dental Association. ‘Terrible teething: Soothing your teething tot’. 2016. Accessed November 2021.