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A baby's teeth start growing in the womb - while a mother is pregnant, the tooth buds appear in the gums and these are the foundations of milk teeth. Between 4-6 months milk teeth begin to break through the gums although this differs between different children. By age three, most should have a full set of teeth.
As each tooth develops, the gum above becomes very red and sore and swollen. Baby's cheeks can look flushed and they may get restless and irritable for some time prior to the tooth appearing and indeed once it breaks through. Eventually you'll see a tiny white bump on the gum. This is the new tooth!
Help through teething
Offer lots of comfort during teething and lots of cooled boiled water to drink. If your baby goes off food, try to offer more milk to keep them sustained and offer little meals more often, rather than trying to get them to eat if they don't want to.
- 1 in 2,000 babies are born with teeth already formed!
- Some babies don't cut their first tooth unti they are over a year old.
- Premature babies may get teeth later than full term babies.
- Most develop milk teeth when they are about to start eating solid foods.
Dealing with sore gums
- Rub baby's gums or show them how to bite on a teething ring.
- Keep any favourite chweing toys in the fridge as coolness will sooth the irritation. Try giving them cold things from the fridge to eat such as yogurt or cold apple.
- Offer teething gels or granules (available from a pharmacy) to sooth the pain.
Teething does not result in fever, chestiness, rashes, diarhoea or convulsions so if you baby gets any of these symptoms, take them straight to the doctor.