Let’s start with the basics: when do babies start teething? This is a big milestone for many families and an exciting one for new parents. You and your baby have figured out a sleep routine, a feeding schedule, and you feel steady. But you know what’s coming next. That first adorable tooth!

When Does a Baby’s First Tooth Come?

Most infants cut their first tooth around six months. Some babies can be a bit earlier at three or four months. And some are late bloomers, so don’t worry if you haven’t seen a tooth even at nine or more months.

Which Teeth Come in First?

Usually, the first teeth to come in are their bottom front two teeth (their incisors). When do babies get the rest of their teeth? By age three, the majority of babies will have all 20 of their teeth. Typical tooth order has the top front teeth coming in next. The first set of molars follow. Then the canines, or eyeteeth. Finally, the second set of molars come in.

What Are Teething Symptoms?

New parents may begin wondering, “when do the first teeth come in,” much sooner than the teeth actually erupt. This is because some babies experience teething symptoms at two or three months. Here’s what to look for:


Teething stimulates saliva buildup in babies’ mouths. So if you notice a lot of drool or soggy bibs and shirts, it may be a sign that a tooth could erupt soon. Refresh the bib and gently wipe your baby’s face to prevent a teething rash. These rashes appear around the mouth, chin, and neck.

Watch out for coughing or an overactive gag reflex too. All that drool is a lot of fluid for their small mouths. If there are no signs of fever or other illness, it’s probably a teething indicator.

Ear Pulling and Cheek Rubbing

Babies with teeth coming in can experience gum irritation and aches. The nerves in the gum are connected to the cheeks and the ears. You may see your baby tugging at their ears or rubbing their cheeks and chin. Infants with ear infections may also tug at their ears, so you may want to check with your pediatrician as well.

Irritability and Crying

Be prepared for some fussiness. Some babies handle teething like little champs. Others want to make sure their parents know exactly how not fun a tooth erupting in their gums can be. Crying for a few hours or protracted irritability for weeks is not uncommon.

Cranky babies may also be more difficult to feed. Both parents who bottle-feed and breastfeed can experience this. Your baby may also lose that hard-won sleep routine and start waking sooner than expected.


When the teeth start coming in, babies experience a lot of pressure in the tender gum tissue. This can be relieved with counter-pressure from chewing or biting. Teething rings can be a great option here. Or rub your infant’s gums with a clean finger.

Teething Remedies To Use & To Avoid

When babies do start teething you can’t help but want to soothe their scrunched-up faces. While you can’t get rid of all of the irritation, there are few things you can do to help.

The FDA recommends a hard rubber teething ring and cold, but not frozen foods. Chat with your pediatrician if your child has any sensory needs. If there’s some pain or fever, it is also a good idea to check-in. Your doctor can give you the best recommendation for your baby’s specific situation.

Generally, physicians recommend avoiding:

  • Teething jewelry
    i.e. amber necklaces or bracelets. These can pose a choking hazard.
  • Numbing agents.
    All that saliva means those gels get washed right out and do no good.

With time, these symptoms and irritability will pass, especially as more teeth come in. The one thing you can always do more of is comfort and cuddling your infant. A hug never hurts.

When Should I Start Brushing My Baby’s Teeth?

You’re tracking your baby on that teething timeline. What’s the next step? Time to start a healthy oral hygiene routine for your baby.

Dr. Lanre Falusi of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents start brushing as soon as the first tooth appears. “Brush them with a smear of toothpaste that contains fluoride.” You want to avoid cavities, which can pass from you to your baby, so don’t forget to brush your own too.

Schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist once the first tooth appears. They can give you and your baby other healthy habits to avoid tooth decay.

When Should You Call the Doctor?

There are a few situations where it may be useful to get your pediatrician’s advice.

  • If you notice a fever and swollen gums for more than three days
  • If after 18 months, there’s still no evidence of teething beginning
  • If you notice dark spots on the teeth, check with your dentist for cavities
  • If there is extended inconsolable crying
  • If at three years, your child does not seem to have all 20 teeth

Your dentist and pediatrician can answer your general questions about your child’s teething timeline too. Babies getting their first teeth is an exciting time. Get ready for some challenges—and get your camera ready for those new toothy smiles.

Before you know it you’ll be asking, “When do kids start to lose their teeth?” You’ll be on a whole new teeth timeline. Soon enough, you’ll also be onto one of the biggest steps in your new parenting journey—finding child care help. When you’re ready, Sittercity can help you find the child care that you and your baby need.

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