by Dr. Iris Bell, MD, PhD
What Do We Know?
Teething happens when your baby’s primary teeth (the first set of 20) come through the gums. The process begins at various times for different infants between age 3 months and 12 months old. Some babies are early – and some are late – bloomers in getting started.
Once teething starts, it can take up to the age of 3 years for all of the primary teeth to appear in the mouth. Teeth show up one at a time, in the lower front area first, followed by the upper front teeth. The last teeth to break through the gums are the second molars, toward the back of the mouth on bottom and top.
Some babies have no symptoms while teething, and others have a lot of apparent discomfort. The same baby might do OK with one episode of teething and not with another. Experts claim that if symptoms from teething are going to appear, they will develop 3-5 days before the tooth breaks through the gum and stop once the tooth is visible.
Beyond these general statements, medical experts and parents seem not to be able to agree on much about the symptoms of teething babies.
Parents often report that a teething baby will have the following symptoms:
• Fussiness or irritability
• Poor or disturbed sleep
• Putting fingers in the mouth, biting on objects
• Diarrhea or loose stools
• Loss of appetite
When pediatricians study the actual symptoms of a teething baby, however, the research findings actually disagree on what are teething symptoms and what symptoms may represent some additional problem. For example, fever and diarrhea could indicate as an infection or even an unsuspected food allergy or intolerance. These are symptoms that you want to ask your health care provider to evaluate.
For the discomfort from teething, symptomatic treatment with homeopathic remedies can be very helpful.