Pregnancy and baby

Teething symptoms and how babies' teeth emerge

Is my baby teething?

Media last reviewed: 11/08/2012

Next review due: 11/08/2014

A baby’s first teeth (known as milk or deciduous teeth) usually develop while the child is growing in the womb.

In most babies, these teeth start to emerge through the gums when they are around six months old. This process is known as teething.

The teething process

Most babies start teething at around six months. However, all babies are different and the timing of teething varies.

Some babies are born with their first teeth. Others start teething before they are four months old, and some after 12 months. Early teething should not cause a child any problems, unless it affects their feeding.

A rough guide to the different stages of teething is:

  • bottom front teeth (incisors) – these are the first to come through, at around five to seven months
  • top front teeth (incisors) – these come through at around six to eight months
  • top lateral incisors (either side of the top front teeth) – these come through at around nine to 11 months
  • bottom lateral incisors (either side of the bottom front teeth) – these come through at around 10-12 months
  • molars (back teeth) – these come through at around 12-16 months
  • canines (towards the back of the mouth) – these come through at around 16-20 months
  • second molars – these come through at around 20-30 months

Most children will have all of their milk teeth by the time they are two and a half years old. 

Teething symptoms

Some teeth grow with no pain or discomfort at all. At other times you may notice that the gum is sore and red where the tooth is coming through, or that one cheek is flushed. Your baby may dribble, gnaw and chew a lot, or just be fretful. Read our tips on how to help your teething baby.

Some people attribute a wide range of symptoms to teething, such as diarrhoea and fever. However, there is no research to prove that these other symptoms are linked.

You know your baby best. If their behaviour seems unusual, or their symptoms are severe or causing you concern, then seek medical advice. You can call NHS 111 or contact your GP.

Read more about spotting the signs of serious illness.

Further information


Page last reviewed: 10/02/2014

Next review due: 10/02/2016

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The 2 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

HLB74 said on 04 October 2013

sweetenallergic - you say a baby has no choice and can't read the ingredients list.... This is the responsibility of the parent!

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sweetenerallergic said on 01 May 2012

Your article recommends "dilute (drinks containing artificial sweeteners) them with at least 10 parts water to one part concentrate" As an adult with choices I have to be very careful to avoid anything with Aspartame or associated sweeteners - even in things you would never think of as containing sweeteners - for example I was caught out with toothpaste recently. Never thought to study the ingredients list before using it - and it triggered a severe migraine (temporarily lose sight in one eye and acute headache). Nowadays it's usually because the manufacturers have changed the contents using a previously 'safe' sweetener to an artificial one. A baby has no choice and can't read the ingredients list!

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