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All about teething and toothache in children

That first tiny white tooth – it’s another marvellous milestone in your baby’s developmental journey. Of course, new teeth can also cause a lot of discomfort as they push their way through sore, red gums. And once all the teeth have come out, there’s the risk of pain caused by tooth decay and other things in life. Learn more about teething in babies, toothaches in children, and ways to keep your little one smiling.

When will my child’s teeth appear?

From around six to ten months, your baby’s tiny tooth buds will begin pushing their way through the gums. Don’t worry if your baby is older and still has no teeth, or if your child gets their first tooth early – teeth come when they want to.

The incisors in the middle of the lower jaw come first, closely followed by the top pair of incisors. The back molars normally appear last.

Children usually have all their teeth by the time they’re two and a half, though there are exceptions to the rule. These teeth will begin falling out once your child is about six years old – then you’ll have to go through the teething process again.

Look for the signs of teething pain

Before the first tooth appears, your baby might show these early signs of teething:

  • Flushed cheeks
  • Fever
  • Sensitive red gums
  • Drooling
  • Desire to chew on whatever they can find
  • Crying
  • Refusing to eat
  • Waking up at night distressed

Sometimes you might be able to see your baby’s tooth coming through, or you may feel a bump on their gum line.

Look for the signs of toothache

There are many different things that trigger toothache (or dental pain). Most commonly, tooth decay occurs as a result of plaque build-up. Other signs to look out for in your child include:

  • A sharp, throbbing or constant pain, or pain when pressure is applied to the tooth
  • Swelling around the tooth
  • Fever, earache or pain when their mouth is opened wide


Seek further advice if:

  • You notice swelling around your child’s face or jaw
  • Your child also has a fever or is feeling generally unwell
  • You think the pain was caused by an injury, like a blow to the mouth

What should I do if my child is in pain?

Teething pain

Extra cuddles and hugs always help a teething baby. You’ll also find they often love to chew, so give them something firm to bite on such as a teething ring- or even better, a chilled and sterilised one from the fridge.

Another thing you’ll find that works is to gently massage your baby’s gums with your finger. You may also want to consider using a sugar-free, colour-free teething gel or a pain reliever such as Nurofen for Children.

Toothaches

Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can. A dentist is the best person to work out why your child’s teeth hurt, and to relieve them appropriately.

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Nurofen for Children can help ease dental pain until your child gets to see the dentist.

Tips for protecting your child’s teeth

The best way to protect your child against toothache is to keep their teeth and gums healthy. It’s never too early to care for your baby’s teeth, as plaque can quickly build up on teeth as soon as your child has them.

Here are some tips to help your child keep their teeth strong and healthy:

  • Make sure your child brushes their teeth twice daily
  • Avoid sugary drinks or milk after brushing
  • Cut down on the amount of snacking your child does in-between meals
  • Take your child to the dentist every six months

Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Do not give to babies under 3 months of age. Seek medical advice for children under 12 months of age. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health related matters please contact your doctor.

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References:

  • Women’s and Children’s Health Network. Teeth – development and teething. Available at: http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=122&id=2518#2 Accessed 12 August 2014.
  • Patient.co.uk Baby Teething. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/teething Accessed 12 August 2014.
  • NHS choices. Toothache. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Toothache/Pages/Introduction.aspx Accessed 4 September 2014.
  • WebMD. Dental health and toothaches. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/toothaches. Accessed 9 September 2014.
  • Dear Doctor. Tooth pain? Don’t wait! Available from: http://www.deardoctor.com/inside-the-magazine/issue-15/tooth-pain/ Accessed 4 September 2014.
  • Better Health Channel. Teeth development in children. Available at: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Teeth_development_in_children?open Accessed 12 August 2014.

This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.