For most babies, teething begins between 5 and 8 months of age. Some, of course, begin a few weeks or months earlier, while others start teething much later. Early teethers might start sprouting the first tooth at 3 months, while late teethers may not begin until 10 months or so.
The answer to "When do babies start teething?" might also depend on genetics, as the age teething starts seems to run in families. Siblings or parents who were early or late teethers may give a clue as to when teething might begin for a particular baby. In addition, babies born prematurely may start teething later than the average for their age.
Parents sometimes notice symptoms of teething before they actually see teeth poking through the gums. Teething symptoms may show up a few days before the tooth appears. Some common symptoms of teething include:
- Restless sleep
- Fussiness that comes and goes instead of being continual
- Refusal to eat
- Chewing on the hands or other objects
- A mild rash around the mouth caused by drool
- Rubbing the ears or cheeks when the molars are erupting
Babies who are teething don't typically have a fever, diarrhea, coughing, vomiting, rashes on the body, or excess fussiness for long periods of time. Parents shouldn't consider these signs an indication that the teeth are coming in. Some babies might have a mild fever when teething starts, but it won't be above 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Any fever that high indicates another illness.
Not all babies have symptoms during teething. Some infants breeze through the process without becoming fussy at all. Most have at least a small amount of crankiness or exhibit chewing behaviors associated with teething, though. You might also be able to see swelling or a slight blister that appears on the gums before the tooth actually pops through.
Because the earliest symptoms of teething can be subtle, new moms who are distracted by other concerns or moms with insomnia might not notice until the teeth appear. Knowing the timeline for typical tooth eruption helps you know when to expect teething symptoms to appear.