Between 5 and 7 months of age, your child will most likely begin teething. As teething begins, a child’s first set of teeth, called the primary teeth, break through the gums. The child’s bottom front teeth are typically the first to appear, followed by the top front teeth, and by the time your child is 3 years old, they should have all 20 of their primary teeth.

Symptoms of teething can vary from child to child. Some babies will become fussy if they are teething and will experience soreness or swelling before a tooth breaks through the gums. Symptoms typically begin 3 to 5 days before a t00th comes in and disappear soon after the tooth appears; however, some children will not be affected at all by teething symptoms.

If you think your baby may have begun teething, here are some common signs and symptoms to look for:

  • Swollen, inflamed gums
  • Irritability
  • Drooling
  • A small rash on the child’s chin, face, or chest (caused by drooling)
  • Refusing to eat or drink (due to gum pressure or mouth pain)
  • Biting fingers or toys to relieve gum pressure

If you think that your child has begun teething, there are a few ways to offer comfort and reduce pain. Gently rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger, damp washcloth, or teething ring can help reduce pressure and offer pain relief. Objects such as teething rings or other child-safe toys can also be helpful and give your baby something to safely bite on to ease pressure. Slightly chilling teething rings or child-safe toys before giving them to your child can additionally help numb pain and reduce swelling.

Mild pain relievers that are approved for babies or infants and are labeled specifically for the age of your child can also help ease severe discomfort. Speak with a healthcare provider to discuss appropriate options before choosing an over-the-counter remedy. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen might help if your baby is especially affected by teething, but it is best to avoid teething medications that contain benzocaine or Advil if your child is less than 6 months old.