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Teething

​Your baby's first tooth begins the process of teething, which is the formation of teeth as they break through the gums.

Expect the first tooth around five months. There are signs teething is beginning.

In most cases, teething proceeds without problems. However, if your child is having unusual discomfort, the doctor may want you to see a dental professional.

Marshfield Clinic professionals are the best resource for your child's health.

What is teething?

Teething is the process of teeth growing and breaking through the gums. This is a normal developmental stage for your baby.

A baby's first tooth usually appears between the ages of 5 and 7 months. Some babies get their first tooth a little earlier and others a little later.

Often, the 2 middle bottom teeth come through the gums first, followed by the middle 4 upper teeth. By the time children are 30 months (2.5 years) old, all 20 baby teeth are usually present.

What are the signs and symptoms of teething?

The following are the most common signs and symptoms of teething:

  • Drooling more than usual (drooling may start as early as three or four months of age, but is not always a sign of teething)

  • Constantly putting fingers or fists in the mouth (babies like to chew on things whether or not they are teething)

  • Swollen, or puffy area on gum

  • Fussiness or crankiness

Teething does not cause colds, rashes, diarrhea, or fever, but it can make a baby uncomfortable. If your baby becomes sick around the same time teeth are coming in, or seems to be cranky or fussy for longer than normal, it is important to evaluate the symptoms of that illness independently of the teething. Call your child's healthcare provider for advice if your baby is sick.

How can you help your child with the discomforts of teething?

If your baby is cranky with teething, try giving him or her hard rubber toys, teething rings, or cold teething toys to chew on. Do not freeze teething toys or rings as these can hurt your baby's gums.

You can also rub your baby's gum with your clean finger. Teething gels may not be helpful as they are quickly washed off if excessive drooling is present, which may cause the effect of the gels to be short-lived.

Something cold on the gums usually soothes and numbs the gums better. Ask your baby's healthcare provider about pain-relieving medicine for teething.

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Brushing Up on Healthy Teeth

Keeping your teeth healthy sounds simple: Brush and floss twice a day and see your dentist twice a year. The trouble is, simple as that sounds, you may need to know more. It's not that dental health is hard—it's easy. But give this true-false quiz a try to see just how much you know about keeping your teeth their brightest, whitest, and healthiest.

1. You must brush and floss your teeth after every meal to prevent gum disease and cavities.
2. Brushing your teeth with an up-and-down or side-to-side motion is the best way to clean your teeth.
3. You can floss your teeth by simply putting the floss between your teeth and pulling it through.
4. Toothbrushes with angled heads and 2 levels of bristles are better than those with straight heads and 1 level of bristles.
5. Motorized toothbrushes clean your teeth better than manual brushes.
6. Brushing too much can harm your gums.
7. You should use a dental rinse along with brushing and flossing to remove plaque.
8. Toothpastes that contain baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can help reduce plaque acids made by plaque bacteria.
9. You should see your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings.
10. If your parents lost all their teeth to tooth decay or gum disease, you will too.