Tracey Stone: What is Teething?

Tracey Stone is a Health Visitor, and able to provide expert guidance on all things teething. Currently a registered practising Health Visitor in the community working with children and their families, Tracey also supports families in the online community with issues related to health and wellbeing. She is a qualified Paediatric Nurse with over 20 years’ experience and a Nurse Prescriber. She has also helped establish a respite service for Children with Special Needs.

what is teething

Teething is a term that we all come across in early parenthood. It’s a normal developmental stage that every child goes through as they approach the right age.  As parents, we all know to expect teething and see it as one of the first major milestones for our babies. There is always a feeling of celebration when the first tooth appears, and a definite sign that your baby is continuing to grow. It is therefore often assumed that parents will by nature just know all about it! This of course is not always true, and some parents can feel awkward raising questions which they feel are just too simple to ask.  This happens more than many realise, and often parents are left confused about what teething is, and what it isn’t.

Teething is simply a word used to describe that their teeth are on their way.  When their teeth will begin to emerge varies greatly from baby to baby. Some babies are actually born with teeth which can be a big surprise discovered during your first cuddle of your little bundle soon after delivery. This link will give offer you a guide of what teeth to expect and when.

As Parents, we are the ones who know your own babies’ health the best. Instinctively parents know when something isn’t quite right and become worried that their baby is just not themselves. Exploring every possibility to try to work out why can leave you feeling confused and possibly unsure of what to do for the best. Teething is often blamed as the cause for discomfort or irritability in a baby or young child. Quite rightly they can suffer until all of their first set of teeth are through, which can be up until their 3rd birthday.

Teething has been linked with many symptoms, some are evidenced of being true, but others are based on personal experiences being shared. If the symptoms cause the parents worry and the child distress, then they all need care and attention regardless. Generally, you may notice your child to be out of sorts 3 to 5 days before the tooth actually appears. They may become irritable, seem in pain, biting more than normal on hard objects, lots of dribbles, sucking more vigorously, change in sleep patterns, off their milk and food, possibly a higher temperature than their normal or just plain miserable. After a few days when a tooth appears you then breathe a sigh of relief that the solution has been found! You’ve now had an experience which makes you more aware for when the next one is on its way.  What it is important to remember although teething is often the guilty party and the one responsible for unsettling your baby at known teething windows, other causes must be ruled out too.

Surprisingly none of the above symptoms have ever confidently been linked to teething so you need to be aware that it could be something else affecting your child. Infections, stomach worries including reflux and skin conditions can all present themselves as symptoms that are associated with teething too. The best thing to do if you are worried about your child is to contact your Health Visitor or GP for their reassurance, support or onward guidance.

General teething advice only, Tracey does not endorse the brand.

Know someone who’d find this useful? Why not share it with a friend?