Teething is the natural process of when teeth start coming through a baby’s gums. During hygiene school I took a course dedicated to the process of tooth growth, bone growth and gum growth…I just wished they prepared us for the actual teething process. As a new mom it has been pretty difficult differentiating teething with other illnesses such as the common cold or a gastrointestinal illness. Luckily over time, my husband and I have figured out some tell tale signs that were teething all along.
Drooling is a widely known symptom of teething but it was not an indicative factor for us when our son started drooling at only 3 months old. Typically teething starts around 5 months old give or take so I was baffled that the drooling was starting so early. Could it be that my child was going to get his first tooth soon? I knew that ideally the first tooth usually comes in around 5-8 months so I was quite confused. Long after when he did “cut” his first tooth at 7 months old, I quickly learned the difference in drool and excessive thick drool that came specifically from teething.
Another teething symptom is gnawing or chewing on anything a baby can get their hands on. Again this symptom came early for us, around 3 months old just like drooling. Then I learned that there is a difference between putting everything in the mouth and actually chewing on things to give the gum tissue some relief from all that pushing and irritation.
Low grade fever and decreased appetite are especially tricky symptoms because they could actually indicate an illness. The way my husband and I determined if it was teething or something else was if the fever was 100.4 and below it was most likely due to teething, any higher was probably something more viral. If my son did not want to take his bottles but had no problem with solid foods then I’d know the sucking motion was probably bothering his gums and teething was happening.
Fussing for no apparent reason or out of nowhere we typically blamed on teething and honestly there was hardly a way for us to tell if this was true or not. At times we would use a cold wet rag and massage his gums but that was if and only if he even let us in his mouth! Stay tuned for my next blog post about brushing your baby/toddler/child’s teeth, however, it may be awhile before I master that.
So in conclusion, while I am no expert, being able to differentiate whether a baby is teething or if it’s something else is very helpful in getting you and your baby some relief and comfort. Teething is an ongoing process from about 5 months old to about 2 years old so learning the signs early on is important and beneficial. Please enjoy this video I captured of my son rubbing his teeth and gums on the drawer handle of our freezer. Sound up!