Teething in babies and toddlers


Teething is a process that all children experience. Most children get their first tooth around 6 months of age and have a complete set of 20 deciduous teeth by 30 months of age.

Parental perceptions and beliefs about teething often influence the symptomatology a child experiences with tooth eruption

Historically, many of the treatments and remedies for teething have been dangerous and have contributed to the high morbidity and mortality attributed to teething.

Today, teething treatments range from teething rings and cold washcloths to homeopathic oils and topical benzocaine. Although many of these treatments are benign, others have the potential to lead to serious disease or pose a choking risk. Vigilance and caution should be used when physicians prescribe treatment and when parents choose to use nontraditional remedies.

Young children are exposed to a wide variety of situations, environments, and illnesses and virtually are guaranteed to have multiple episodes of fever, congestion, and diarrhea. Physicians and caregivers need to be aware of the temporal relationship between teething, exposure to infection, and normal childhood illnesses. This perspective will help ensure that teething is not used as a blanket diagnosis to explain both potentially serious illness and normal childhood behavior.

Parents need to be educated that local symptoms may occur, but systemic symptoms are not caused by teething.