Baby Teething Symptoms: 10 Signs of a Teething Baby

Baby Teething Symptoms: 10 Signs of a Teething Baby

Teething Baby Symptoms
©Ozgur Coskun/Shutterstock.com

Did you know that 5,016 children died from teething in just one year in Wales and England? The year was 1839. Since many babies died around the age of teething, most people simply assumed that it was the teething that killed them. Luckily we’ve come a long way since then — we now know that babies don’t die from teething!

We’ve also discovered that teething really doesn’t cause a lot of the symptoms that we’ve traditionally thought. For example, teething doesn’t cause a high fever.

Teething can be a very painful process for your little loved one.  Often, as parents it is easier for us to focus on how our infant’s teething affects us, such as disrupting our sleep, interrupting a peaceful day, or getting in the way of things we want to get done.

It is important to understand what your child is going through.  Try to imagine what it would feel like if there were tiny knives under your gums pushing their way into your mouth – it probably would be kind of painful and irritating.  It’s that irritability that kicks off our list of 10 signs of a teething baby.

10 Signs & Symptoms of a Teething Baby

A Teething Baby1 – Irritability and pain were reported by parents in this survey to be the most common symptoms of their teething babies.

2 – Waking up in the middle of the night and not sleeping well is another very common symptom that my wife and I experienced most with our little girl.  Our son really didn’t seem to have very much trouble with teething other than when he got his first tooth.

3 – Not wanting to eat solid foods is an understandable symptom of teething because their gums hurt so bad that the thought of chewing on some food probably doesn’t sound too good.

4 – Biting things.  You may notice that your child seems to want to bite a lot of things.  Our kids would never bite the teething toys that we got them.  Interestingly enough, the very expensive crib from Babies ‘R Us that my wife just had to get now has lots of bite marks on the top railing, a permanent reminder of the times when our kids were teething!  Our daughter would also often remove the pen from my shirt pocket and start biting it.

5 – Increased salivary flow and drooling.  You may notice that your child starts producing more saliva which causes them to drool more when they are teething.

6 – Rubbing their gums.  Babies will sometimes try to rub their gums to alleviate the pain.

7 – Ear rubbing was a common finding among teething babies.

8 – A mild fever has been found to occur during teething, but it’s important to keep in mind that major fevers are not associated with teething.  If your child has a really high fever, chances are that something else is causing it.

9 – A rash on their face – While a rash on your baby’s face can be a symptom of teething, rashes anywhere else on their body haven’t been found to be associated with teething.

10 – Sucking on things.  You might find your child sucking on their fingers more than before or sucking on random objects around the house that then become covered in drool!

Further reading: If you’d like to read more about teething, you can check out the book Paediatric Dentistry, read this study about real teething symptoms, or read this survey that parents answered about teething.

Will Your Teething Baby Have All of These Symptoms?

It’s almost certain that your baby will not have all of the symptoms mentioned above.  This study that appeared in the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics states that not one of the above symptoms was present in more than 35% of teething babies.

Most teething babies will get a few of the symptoms that are mentioned above, so you can use the teething symptoms above as a loose guideline to see if the symptoms your baby has are normal during teething.

What Symptoms Have You Noticed In Your Teething Baby?

While the ten symptoms above were shown to be associated with teething in a scientific paper, science is always changing as we learn and discover more.

Have you noticed any teething signs and symptoms in your baby that aren’t mentioned above?  Do you have any questions about teething?   I’d love to hear your comments and questions in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

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68 COMMENTS

  1. My baby girl tries to eat her fingers and drools like crazy. She also is pretty fussy which is extremely out of character for her. We knew right away she was teething, She had most of these symptoms. What really helps her is a little bit of baby tylenol before bed and some baby orajel. She usually is able to fall asleep shortly after.During the day I give her some teething rings straight from the freezer and that helps. I felt so bad for her when she first started. She was screaming and crying in pain which was so unusual for her that I almost panicked. This article is helpful for moms like me who want to make sure my baby isn’t the only one going through a rough time with her new teeth.

    • Hi Shannon – I’m glad it helped. Thanks for your comment! It sounds like everything is working out well. Good luck helping your little girl with her teething!

  2. My 6 month is super grumpy and is drooling like crazy and I can see the outline of her bottom teeth but I was wondering if her having a stuffy/runny nose could be part of teething also?
    Thank you

  3. Hey my daugther is 8mos and still no teeth ugg she been teething for months chewing biting drooling runny bm but still no teeth. Her gums are red n swelling I feel so bad that this going on n she still has togo through it n no reslut anyone know what’s the problem nalso she an eat cheese doodles with no problem is her gums too hard to be teething

      • I’m not the original poster but my son started eating table foods between 8 and 10 months. His favorite snacks were gerber puffs and gerber baby cheese doodles. They are great starter snacks for that age range because they are easy for them to pick up and help develop their princer grasp. They come in all different flavors and they aren’t “junk food” like adult cheese doodles. That’s probably what the poster is talking about…

      • Its more than okay for the baby to eat them at 8mos. He/she is able to grab now. Also cheese doodle soften with all the drool the create

  4. Also wondering about the stuffy/runny nose… my daughter didn’t get her first 2 bottom teeth til she was 10 months & now she’s a year & it looks like she’s getting 6 teeth coming in all at once…. is that possible??? What can I do to make her more comfortable at night????

  5. I have been rather confused at all the debate out there over this issue. Some say kids don’t get sick from teething, others (especially all those moms who care for their children daily) swear that it happens. Well, my third baby is currently teething. With the first baby, I asked a pediatrician if it was typical for babies to get sick and experience fevers when teething. I was noticing a trend developing each time he had new teeth break through. He said it was an old wives tale, and that it was only the baby experiencing discomfort to the emerging teeth and inflamation. But since then, without fail, all three babies get sick way beyond “discomfort”. It always happens just a few days after the teeth break through the gums. My babies end up with a cold (and an infection), or problems with their digestive system or both. So, even though I haven’t been to medical school (*and even though I often refer to a baby book or a first aid book to refresh my skills and know when to call the doctor), I still beg to differ on this one. It also seems that common sense would agree with me. Here is how I see it. When we get an infection, inflamation develops. Isn’t that the body heating up the area of infection to speed up and aid in healing? As I understand fevers, don’t our bodies get warmer (and we feel run down) in order to speed up the growth of white blood cells to fight off an infeciton? Also, when you get a cut on your skin, you have a greater risk of getting bacteria in the wound and getting an infection. And any time our bodies experience inflamation it usually means something is wrong and it needs to be treated or monitored so something more serious doesn’t develop. So then why would this not also apply to teething? Inflamation is present, so that explains the mild fevers, the discomfort and even a rash on the cheeks. But the teeth are literally cut open at the gums, and babies are putting hands and objects into their mouths which introduces bacteria at the site of the open wound on the gums. So to me, this means teething is directly related to children getting sick. Granted, the teeth themselves don’t cause the sickness, but the bacteria that gets more easily introduced does. So, why would anyone claim that children don’t get sick with teething? What is your take on this? Is my conclusion wrong somehow? And if so please let me know. Thanks!

    • my daughter is 3 months old & i was trying to figure out if she is teething & on every wesite it says something about being sick isnt related to teething but i think you just made an excellent point i just wanted you to know that. thank you for pointing this out for all the mommys out there.

      • hi i think u r right i was just thinkin the same thing and now on my second boy and he is 12 weeks old and yes he is teethin and guess what none of us r ill except him, somehow even though we haven’t been around anyone he has a cold? or at least he is very stuffy, we haven’t caught it and i always catch colds so im thinkin its cause he is teethin and all hes had in his mouth is his bottle and dummy, both serile, so theres def somethin about them gettin ill or at least seemin ill, cant believe he has started so early just hope it comes through quickly

    • I’m no paediatrician but I have been a nanny for 17 years and now have my own baby. I’d put money on your theory being right.

    • One point to your theory I would like to correct- fevers do not increase production of anything, the purpose of a fever is to kill microbes like bacteria or viruses. This is why you would use hot water to wash clothes, dishes etc and high temperatures are used to sterilize things.

    • I agree 100% with everything on here never thought of this that way about teething I’ve been wondering everything you have answered in here very insiteful

    • I couldn’t agree with u more..my 9 month old daughter is teething n is very sick runny nose n skin rash that looks like heats

  6. I am experiencing the exact same thing with my daughter….her first tooth just broke through the gums this morning and just tonight she now has a runny nose. It’s awful. The poor thing has a low grade fever and when she sneezed a ton of goo came out and she is practically choking on it. I feel so bad for her and nothing I do seems to make her more comfortable. She is finally sleeping, but it’s definitely due to getting her first tooth. No doubt about that…most doctors are morons…..just brainless sheep following the doctor herd.

  7. My son got diarrhea- it is not a symptom of teething, but a side effect from a symptom so Dr’s often say it isn’t caused by teething. Sometimes babies swallow a lot of saliva which upsets their little tummies and causes the diarrhea. So watch your little ones bums and be careful of diaper rash and dehydration.

    • My son is 9months and he has two more theeth cutting through he has a small cold: coughing, conjusted, fever, and diarrhea is that normal what should i do his eyes is not glossy and he is very actived if that’s not normal tell me if this is a fact or should i tak him to the ER

  8. My 7 month just recently came down with a cold stuffy nose and cough he is so super cranking which is not like him at all he has always been a very happy baby never crying a day in his life. Now he is miserable all day long and is super fussy and not sleeping very well at night. I am thinking that maybe his teeth might be coming in (he has none right now) my question is how long will this first tooth take to cut through I am looking at days, weeks?? Any ideas would be super helpful to a very tired new mom.

  9. Hi,

    my daughter is 13 months old has four teeth and one half way out, it seems like the 6th one is on the way as well cuz lately she has been really fussy and drooling and hasnt been wanting to eat. but whats botherig me is that with the other teeth coming out she didnt stop eating and also that i see alot of plaque on her tongue and mouth seems pretty swollen. the inside lines of her lip also seem to have some white stuff on them, is this also related to teething plz explain am getting worried

    • Amber,

      Not eating, swollen mouth, drooling, white stuff, tongue discolored…. That all sounds like something serious, potentially the emergency room kind of serious! I would be afraid of breathing difficulties developing. If it was my child, I would immediately call a nurse’s hotline or an after hours on-call pediatrician to find out what would be the best thing to do since it is night and a weekend. If you haven’t already called or taken her in to see someone, please do. It’s terrible having to worry and wonder what’s wrong, so don’t wait to contact someone who can help. It’s always better to be overly cautious and make sure they are OK because your child could be in danger. Good luck and hope she gets better soon.

    • My daughter is four and had this about a month ago, it is thrush. It can be very painful sometime antibodics cause it. Not cleaning the mouth. An infection. Or falling asleep with milk their mouth

  10. Thanks Tom for this. my son is 4 months and a week old. I noticed some rashes on his face and the ear rubbing thing, the drooling, i was like..no this can”t be teething , this is way too early. But after logging on to your blog, i am better informed and i might as well be prepared for teething.

  11. my daughter is now 8 1/2 months and has had most if these symptoms since around 3 months and still has not got a tooth.. should I be talkin to her Dr yet? i have tried everything even giving her my finger she does not want anything. the thing i found that eases her pain is teething tabs. they are a homopathic remedy. Is that ok?

    • my daughter is 4 months now and she has been teething for over a month but still nothing her teeth ‘go up and down. I asked her doctor cause I felt so bad for her and he told be that being younger they could take a while to come .. its all about the wait

  12. One thing I noticed is that from that moment when the littlest cut in the gum was evident (a little roughness to the touch) the teething symptoms were greatly reduced. So that picture five days before the tooth was visible would have been when we would start to get a nights rest. It was figuring out if the baby was teething the week leading up to that that was the problem.

  13. My daughter is almost 6 months and I don’t see any teeth yet but I do feel something. She use to sleep all night from 8pm till 7am now she wakes up around 1 for he’s. Also she’s putting everything in her month pulling on ear but I still see no teeth …. When do u think they will come in ????

  14. I have a little girl whos been tething for over a month and still nothing her doctor said starting at a young age they are commen to go up nd down and could take a whole. she always has her fingers in her mouth or toys or a teething almost anything that will help elevate the pain in her gums if she has nothing she cries . tylenol or oragel help wonders or anything cold like a cold cloth to suck on or frozen teething rings. as for other mommy’s out there who have baby’s who have been teething and no teeth yet. some will take time and others may have their teeth faster then you know it. each baby is different. yes some baby’s get diareha some baby’s get sick and some baby don’t get teeth till they are over a year old or over from what my doctor told me its all about the baby’s gum development whether they are ready for teeth or not.

  15. My son is 7 months old soon to be 8 months in another 2 weeks and he has been having all the symptoms you mentioned since he was around 4 months old and still nothing. Do you think something may be wrong? I’m getting a little worried that they haven’t come in after all this time.

  16. My baby boy is five months old and is really fussy. … he tends to cry a lot now and he drools alot also he has a mild fever more in the night and his cheeks look a bit swollen. …he doesn’t want to be breastfed again he only wants the bottle and his hand is always in his mouth now trying to rub those gums ! ! this be teetering? ??

  17. My daughters lip and cheek seem to be swollen on the side she has teeth coming in…. its her top and bottom molers. shes never showed signs before with teething. Shes had a fever up to 100 in the past few days, whimpering on and off during the night, just extremely irritable and looks very tired, and has a rash on her cheeks. I didnt want to take her to the dr because theres not coughing runny nose or throwing up like with illnesses so ive chopped it up to teething but am I wrong?

  18. My 6month old boy has been teething for 3months and just 3days ago stared getting bad diarrhea has all the other symptoms and today he’s sleeping so much .. do u think he’s sick or just teething ????

  19. My daughter will be four months on the 17th but idk what to do she drools a lot she gets to suck her whole FIST or my hands she’s fussy but she also had a lack of appitite and when she does eat sometimes she’s good but other times she’s vomitting this only happened three times other then that just spit up some times she will do four oz and she’s good hours later maybe another four if not only 2 oz and she spits up a lot idk what to do she is having diahria and its yellow can it just be teething

  20. My daughter is 16 months old, she has been teething since she was 2 months old. She now has 10 teeth and is working on all 4 of her eye teeth and her top molars.
    She gets a low grade fever, runny nose, and a rash all over her cheeks. She normally gets like this and then a week later will pop a tooth. She doesn’t like to eat a lot of solids when she is teething, but I do have her on toddler formula so at least I know she is getting her nutritions.

  21. hi my name is april,

    i have a 4 months old girl and i am just a bit concerned i know that my daughter is teething but she has white bums on the side of her gums not where i thought teeth would grow? do i need to take her to the doctors? i am a first time single mother so this is all new to me she doesn’t seem distressed she seems a happy little girl i do give her teething gel to help comfort her.

    please could someone write back to me to let me know if this is normal or weather i need to take her to the doctors.

    many thanks

    april

  22. is it normal that rhe lips get a little swollen when teething? my daughter is 9 months and her teething symptoms come and go since she was 4 months. still no teeth. now she just woke up screaming and nothing calmed her down. I notice her lips were swollen.i gave her tynnelon and 30 min after she fell sleep again. is been almost two hours and swollen went down. she didn’t eat anything new today so the only thing I can relate the swoling is teething.

  23. Hi Tom I’m a first time mom my son is 4months he always put his hands and try to put my fingers in his mouth a little grumpy at times and now he rarely sleep he don’t drool as much he will chew on the side of his pacifier do this mean he teething

  24. I’m not a doctor but I am a CNA. The ear, nose, throat and mouth are all connected through these small passages called foramen. When babies are teething it can cause irritation in all of these areas. The irritation causes inflammation, leading to cold symptoms. Sometimes the fluids moving through these foramen gets trapped aka build up. This can cause infections. For example: when you get a cut on your finger. The bodies first response is to send help to that affected area. To stop bleeding and prevent the foriegn object from infiltrating further. The finger swells from the overload of white blood cells. Then the finger, would stop bleeding forming a scab. Finger at this point can be infected based on what bacteria were present when the incident initially occurred. Once the body recognizes the bacteria it begins to fight it off. Results in oozing a yellow, milky substance. This is the infection being forced out, with our ears, nose, throat and mouth the infection has other places to travel, not just out. So can teething symptoms cause sickness, I believe the answer is yes, definitely! If the ears can’t drain properly, ear infection. If the bacteria is being forced out of the nose but the baby is drooling, then the baby can ingest the bacteria. Etc.

  25. After my baby cut his first teeth he slowly refused to suck, both nursing as well as bottle feeding. Even if he sucks he will do so very briefly and lightly. He eats from a spoon just fine. Just doesn’t feel like sucking/ there’s something that bothers him while sucking. We are currently spoon feeding him milk as well. It’s been over a month now and all this started when he cut his first teeth and it kept getting worse. We took him to pediatricians and an ENT specialist as well, but they don’t see anything wrong with him. They say oh may be its teething discomfort. He isn’t very cranky, but does drool lots and constantly wants to chew something. Can teething really impact a baby I this way that he doesn’t feel like sucking for months on end?

  26. Hello I was wondering about my 21 old use to eat everything now is sucking on his solids and not chewing making mealtime forever to eat. He has had a runny nose and congested lately. Also contantly has his fingers in his mouth. Could this be a sign of 2 year molars or sensory issue?

  27. My 21 month old has had every symptom in the book so far for teething. The last few nights have been awful for her, typical symptoms except this time her whole upper lip is swollen and it appears to have white spots up under the lip. Is this normal? It’s all four of her *fang* teeth.

  28. My baby boy is going to turn 3 months next week and I think he’s teething. He drools a lot, is crazy fuzzy and, has congestion. But can they teeth so early on?

  29. My son bit his bottom lip pretty good. a couple times. none of my other children have ever done that. And I know he’s teething. he’s getting his molars on the bottom. and possibly his bottomed eye teeth. It amazes me with each child their teething is so different.

  30. Hi my baby is also teething,he is drooling lyk anything,fuzzy,irritated,always something or the other in his mouth,seeking someone’s fingers to bite….being a dentist and a mother just waiting for his first teeth to erupt soon…..? hope his difficult time goes off soon…!!!

  31. Hi my baby is 1 and half ears old and he is biting his fingers alot and bit my hands n fingers . He has completed his teeths 8 teeth. Now small 2 molars up and down and 2 grinding teeth up and down..he is getting so crazy when its time to sleep..I dont know what to do with him .Please if any mother or admin can help .

  32. Pls my exclusively breastfed baby develop my 2 teeth down at the month of 4, and I noticed other one is cming out and she is 5 plus. She doesn’t breast feed well, she has loss weight and she hardly pee. Should I introduce water and food. Pls I need ur help

  33. Pls my exclusively breastfed baby develop my 2 teeth down at the month of 4, and I noticed other one is cming out and she is 5 plus. She doesn’t breast feed well, she has loss weight and she hardly pee. Should I introduce water and food. Pls I need ur help.

  34. What should could I put on my grandson’s cheek’s for his bad rash due to teething?
    They first suggested he had Ezema so gave him a cortesize cream but not helping.
    He scratches it so it makes it worse.
    Please help.
    Thank You,

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