7 Questions About the Eruption of Baby Teeth

The eruption of baby teeth can produce many doubts among parents. We'll clarify some aspects about tooth eruption in the following article.
7 Questions About the Eruption of Baby Teeth
Vanesa Evangelina Buffa

Written and verified by the dentist Vanesa Evangelina Buffa.

Last update: 19 November, 2022

The eruption of baby teeth is a long-awaited moment for parents. However, this natural process produces doubts and uncertainty in adults who seek to accompany their little ones in this stage.

In some babies, teething doesn’t cause any discomfort, but in other children, it can cause pain and discomfort. Many doubts and myths are generated around this event in the mouth of little ones.

Having clear and accurate information allows you to know what to expect at this stage and better respond to the needs of your little one. We’ll clarify the 7 most frequent doubts about the eruption of baby teeth in the following article.

1. When and in what order do baby teeth erupt?

The age at which the first baby tooth appears in babies varies greatly, as it depends on the growth rate of each child. In general terms, however, tooth eruption usually begins between 6 and 8 months of age.

Teeth appear in the mouth progressively, until all 20 baby teeth have erupted. The process usually culminates between 20 and 30 months, depending on each child. As we just mentioned, some children’s teeth appear early and others take longer to appear.

Usually, the first teeth to appear are the lower central incisors, followed by the upper ones. These first 4 teeth are followed by the lateral incisors, then the first molars, the canines, and finally the second molars.

However, as with the age of eruption, the order may also vary from child to child. In some children, several teeth may appear at the same time, or erupt in a different sequence than mentioned above, and this isn’t a cause for alarm or concern.

A mother looking at her baby's gums.
Baby teeth appear in the mouth progressively until the eruption of the 20 elements is complete. The first to erupt are usually the lower central incisors.

2. Does the eruption of baby teeth hurt?

Many parents wonder if the eruption of baby teeth is painful. It’s quite common to hear that, at this stage, little ones drool excessively, are more irritable than usual, and can’t rest well.

Some little ones go through this stage without any symptoms. On the other hand, for others, it’s a time of great discomfort and irritability.

The truth is that there’s no scientific evidence that proves that dental eruption hurts. According to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, the eruption of baby teeth doesn’t hurt, although it may cause some discomfort to the baby.

In any case, there are records of experiences and reports from parents and caregivers that suggest that little ones experience the discomfort mentioned above. It will be the particularities of each child that will condition how they experience the eruptive process.

Some parents may assume that the inflammation of the gums, which usually swell and turn red, may be the cause of the uncomfortable sensations in little ones. But the thickening of the gingival tissue is due to the presence of the tooth that’s making its way inside until it appears in the mouth.

3. Why is there more drooling during tooth eruption?

Many times, children drool more during the eruption of their baby teeth. But, although both processes occur at the same time, the increased salivation isn’t due to tooth eruption.

Drooling usually starts a few months before the eruption of teeth and many adults often take this symptom as a premonition of the appearance of teeth. But drooling may be independent of tooth eruption.

When your baby’s salivary glands develop, more saliva is produced. This is poured out because the baby doesn’t yet have a fully mature swallowing reflex.

At just a few months old, babies suck, bite, and explore the world through their mouths. At the time of tooth eruption, these behaviors may become more frequent and intense. These activities stimulate salivary secretion, and drool that’s not swallowed leaves the mouth.

Thus, drooling in infants occurs both during tooth eruption and at other times. It’s a natural and physiological process and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

4. Does the eruption of baby teeth cause fever and diarrhea?

Clarifying this doubt regarding the eruption of baby teeth is very important to preserve the health of little ones. The eruption of baby teeth doesn’t cause fever, although it can cause a slight increase in body temperature that doesn’t exceed 99.5 °F.

At the same time, digestive problems and diarrhea aren’t symptoms of the eruption of baby teeth.

If your baby has a fever or diarrhea, it’s important to visit a pediatrician to find the cause of this symptom. In general, these are usually infectious conditions that arise from putting objects or dirty hands in their mouth during the exploration stage.

5. Are teethers useful?

Many parents wonder if the teethers that are marketed to relieve teething are useful. These products designed for little ones to put in their mouths help them feel their new teeth, press on their gums, and soothe any unpleasant sensations they may experience.

As we’ve already told you, babies explore and get to know the world through their mouths. For this reason, sucking and biting objects is a habit typical of this stage.

On the market, you can find teethers of different shapes, materials, and textures. There are even those that can be cooled in the refrigerator, providing freshness to the gums and relieving discomfort.

When choosing these products, it’s important to look for safe items that are manufactured with non-toxic substances and certified by official organizations.

6. When to start cleaning teeth?

Mouth hygiene should start before the eruption of baby teeth. It’s best to clean the baby’s mouth by gently rubbing the gums with a damp cloth or a silicone finger.

When the first teeth appear in the baby’s mouth, it’s time to clean them with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Teeth should be brushed with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (smaller than the size of a grain of rice) twice a day, trying to clean the gums and tongue as well.

Baby teeth are susceptible to getting sick and developing cavities, so their hygiene, from the moment they appear, is essential. Dental brushing eliminates bacterial plaque and prevents possible diseases.

A mother using a silicone finger brush to clean her baby's mouth.
Oral hygiene should begin before the first teeth appear. Ideally, the gums should be gently rubbed with a damp cloth or a silicone finger brush.

7. When to start taking children to the pediatric dentist?

It’s important to take babies to their first dental visit before their first birthday or when their first baby teeth appear. The earlier dental check-ups are started, the easier it is for the baby to adapt to the dental environment.

In children’s dental visits, the professional evaluates the general state of the mouth, the growth of the jaws, and how the dental eruption process is developing. In these appointments, they also advise parents on all the pertinent care to keep their child’s mouth healthy.

Dental check-ups should continue every 6 or 12 months, according to the pediatric dentist’s indications.

Accompanying dental eruption

The eruption of baby teeth is a natural process that all babies go through. With these 7 doubts clarified, it’ll be easier for you to accompany this stage in your little one’s life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.