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.
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.