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Updated: Nov 29, 2022

Teething….Surviving the Big Bite


By Major Dad Official

Between the age of 4 and 7 months, and as early as 3 months, your baby begins to teeth. These time frames are average, and much of this timing is based upon heredity. The first teeth to peek through are often the central incisors, either top or bottom. That being said, the lower teeth usually emerge first, followed by the upper incisors. The next teeth to show up are the molars, then the ‘eye teeth,’ or canines. This entire teething process is usually complete by the time your child turns 3 years old. And when they smile at you, they’ll be sporting a complete juvenile mouth with 20 teeth.

Every one of my 5 children became really grumpy when they started cutting teeth. So when somebody tells you, “occasionally, your child might become irritable,”- they’ve never had kids!

Teething is often accompanied by a low-grade fever, but this has been an old wives' tale. Modern research has determined teething does not cause low-grade fevers. A fever is defined as a temperature range of approximately 101 F or 38.3 C. If this is the case, something else is going on with your little one, and it’s time to go see your Pediatrician.

So how do you tell if the baby is teething? Some telltale signs are: baby will be drooling like an English Bulldog. Everything within reach will be grabbed and put into his mouth to be gummed to death. When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING! Spoons, hairbrushes, fingers, (his and yours) jewelry, and the list goes on. Other symptoms of teething include:

  • Gum Rubbing

  • Ear Bending

  • Sucking

  • Biting

  • Irritability

  • Wakefulness

  • Gnawing on Fingers

  • Facial Rash

  • Decreased Appetite

  • Increased Drooling (and I mean buckets)

These teething tips work:

  • Chill chewable soft items like a twisted washcloth that has been dipped in breastmilk or chamomile tea. Or better yet, my wife chilled our baby’s bib and attached it to chairs, swings, and the car seat.

  • Gently rub your baby’s gums with your finger. Watch out if teeth are already present!

  • Vanilla extract and also some essential oils can be helpful in soothing a baby’s gums by gently numbing nerve endings. These include clove bud, frankincense, chamomile, lavender, and lemongrass. You might also try Licorice root, Fennel stalks, Frozen green beans, or ginger root rubbed on their gums.  

  • Other items that have proven results include our fingers and knuckles (make sure your hands are clean), leather strap, chilled teether toy with texture, ‘Sophie’ the giraffe, and a toothbrush with soft bristles. Be sure to keep an eye on the baby when he has things like a toothbrush in his mouth. TIP: The ALL time FAVORITE is the plastic lid from a coffee can or similar type container. My children would gnaw on the soft plastic lid edge for hours at a time!

  • Lavender & Roman Chamomile (external) Teething Oil Rub: Mix 1 drop of organic essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil (olive oil) and massage around the outside of the face along the jawline. Or try 2 drops of Clove oil in 1 tablespoon of carrier oil and apply to gums.

  • You might also try Baltic Amber jewelry. Use with caution as they do provide a choking hazard if not properly worn.

  • Chewbeads offers mother's Jewelry and other items specifically designed to be chewed on by baby. They offer necklaces, toys, and useful objects too! All are designed to be chewed on.

When all else fails, some Baby Advil, Motrin, or Tylenol should help.

Once your baby’s teeth do come in, you need to start brushing them. Only use water for now. Fluoride, which is found in most toothpaste, can be toxic if too much is swallowed. Generally, it is advised not to give fluoride toothpaste until your child understands not to swallow the toothpaste foam. There is children's toothpaste available that is natural and contains xylitol. 

As a general rule, don’t allow your baby to fall asleep with a bottle or sippy cup in their mouth. The milk or juice can pool in the back of the teeth and cause tooth decay.

For a healthy smile, the American Dental Association recommends your child see a dentist by the age of 1 year.  

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