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The most common age for babies to get their first tooth is between six and nine months. Some babies get their first tooth a little earlier and some babies a little later. Often, the two middle bottom teeth come through the gums first, then the middle four upper teeth come through next. By the time children are thirty months (2 1/2 years) of age, all twenty baby teeth are present.


Babies begin to drool around three to four months of age. Drooling is not always a sign of teething. Drooling occurs at this age because more saliva is made in the mouth and the baby does not swallow it all. The baby may not get the first tooth until several months after drooling starts.


Babies like to chew on things whether or not they are teething. Babies explore things by putting them in the mouth, so chewing or mouthing toys is not always a sign of teething. To avoid choking, always make sure that toys for babies are too big to put through a cardboard toilet paper roll.


A tooth coming through the gum does not make the baby sick. Teething can cause discomfort of the gums and crankiness. Teething does not cause colds, diarrhea, or fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit. If your baby gets sick around the same time teeth are coming in, do not blame the illness on teething. Call your child’s doctor for advice if your baby is sick.

Soothing teething pain

If your baby is cranky with teething, try giving your baby hard rubber toys, teething rings, or cold teething toys to chew. You can also rub the child’s gum with your finger. Teething gels (e.g., Anbesolâ or Orajelâ) are usually not needed. If teething gels are used, use only small amounts. Something cold on the gums usually soothes and numbs the gums as much as a teething gel. You may give your baby a liquid infant non-aspirin pain reliever (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) for pain. Do not give your baby ibuprofen if he is younger than 6 months old. Read the directions on medications to be sure you give your baby a safe dose.

Tooth care

Start good dental care as soon as your baby gets a tooth. Clean your baby's teeth once a day with a soft wet cloth. At twelve months of age, you can use a small soft toothbrush and water. As your child gets older, a small dab of toddler- approved toothpaste can be used on the toothbrush.

Your baby should have his first dentist visit at 1 year old.

Do not give your baby a bottle when you put him in his bed. If your baby drinks from a bottle and then falls asleep, milk or juice will stay on the teeth and cause tooth decay.

Baby teeth are important. Teeth are needed to chew food and to form sounds when talking. Baby teeth also save space in the mouth for permanent teeth. Take good care of your baby's teeth so he will have a nice smile!

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 10/2012

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