Baby, Toddler
5th Aug 2020

Common Teething Symptoms (+Why They Happen!)

Just like taking their first steps or saying their first word, teething is an exciting and normal process for every child that can happen when you’d least expect.

While some teething tots will breeze through this milestone completely unfazed, others may experience an array of different teething symptoms.

From swollen gums to eruption cysts, it’s normal for babies to exhibit some discomfort as they gain their first set of pearly whites.

And, although no parent likes seeing their little one feeling uncomfortable, understanding the reasons behind these common symptoms may help you through what can be a challenging time for parent and child alike.

Red, Swollen Gums

During the process of teething, your little one’s teeth need to push their way through the gum. You may notice this leaves their gums looking red, swollen and tender.

Understandably, this may cause some discomfort for your bub and they may become irritable. You might find that feeding them chilled soft foods like yoghurt and gently massaging their gum with a clean finger can help to provide some relief.

Increased Dribbling

As a parent, you’re likely well-acquainted with dribble. After all, babies sure do produce a lot of it!

Although drooling is normal for all babies, teething can stimulate the mouth to ramp up saliva production even further.

While the dribble itself most likely won’t bother your bub, it may irritate the skin around the mouth and cheek. Taking a soft cloth and gently wiping away excess drool from their face can help to reduce irritation.

Flushed Cheeks

Just as your little one’s gums may become red during teething, so too might their cheeks. Flushed, red cheeks are a common teething symptom and can be caused by a couple of factors.

On the one hand, when your baby’s pearly whites are preparing to come through the gums, they may cause irritation and inflammation. This process can cause the cheeks to look red and leave them feeling warm to the touch.

Although warm cheeks are a normal sign of teething, a fever is not. If your child is experiencing a fever above 38°C, seek the advice of a health professional.

On the other hand, as mentioned, excess teething may irritate your baby’s skin a cause it to become red around the mouth and on the cheeks.

Ear Pulling

Ear pulling usually isn’t anything to worry about and may be a sign that your little one is feeling tired or that their ears may be blocked.

Although many people associate ear tugging with the onset of teething, it’s unclear whether or not this is the case.

If your child is pulling at their ears and you’re concerned that they are unwell, seek the advice of your paediatrician.

Sucking On Fingers Or Fists

It’s common for teething babies to suck on their fingers, fists or anything else they can get their little hands on.

This could be an indication that they’re experiencing some discomfort, as chewing is one way that your little one can attempt to soothe themselves and relieve some of the pressure.

Changes In Appetite

Reduced appetite is commonly linked to teething pain. As the teeth begin to push through your little one’s gums, they may find eating uncomfortable.

On the other hand, you might notice that your baby’s appetite increases during periods of teething. This is likely their attempt to feel counter pressure on their gums.

Trouble sleeping

Just as you might have trouble dozing off to dreamland during periods of discomfort (such as a common cold or mild ache), your baby might also have trouble nodding off while they’re teething.

Cutting new teeth is an uncomfortable experience for many bubs, causing them to have trouble falling asleep or to wake during the night.

Eruption Cysts

When your little one is teething, you might notice a blueish-grey bubble on their gum where a new tooth is about to appear. This build-up of fluid is commonly known as an eruption cyst or teething blister and is a common symptom of teething.

Eruption cysts are completely normal and will usually disappear on their own.

If your little one experiences teething blisters, try to avoid touching them. If an eruption cyst lingers or doesn’t resolve itself, it may be time to visit your paediatrician or dentist.

Although these eight common signs of teething might be uncomfortable for your bub, keep in mind that it is a normal and important stage of life that all children experience. If you have any concerns about your child’s health, seek the advice of a health professional.

What's Next?

Did you find this information useful? If so, you might also be interested in reading the following:

This Is What You Need To Know About Teething

4 Helpful Tips To Relieve Your Teething Baby’s Discomfort