Teething is not a disease. The child will have its first milk tooth when it is 4 to 8 months old and the last tooth will have erupted when it is about 3 years old. Salivation, a tendency to bite and irritability are the most common symptoms when children are teething. Loose faeces and lack of appetite are more rare. There is a connection between teething and slight increase in temperature. If the child’s temperature is higher than 38.5ºC or if the temperature is high for more than 2 days it is not caused by teething but by the child having an infection.
Teething is not a disease. However, most parents experience that the child is different than normal when a tooth erupts. Some parents have heard that teething can cause more serious signs of illness and are therefore anxious. Luckily many scientific investigations have been conducted on children teething and none of them has been able to demonstrate that children actually become ill from teething.
With most children milk teeth begin erupting when the child is between 4 and 8 months old. Some children have their first milk tooth already when they are three months old while others does not have it until they are 18 months old. In very rare cases, the child is born with one or more teeth. The first teeth to erupt are the two incisors in the bottom of the mouth. When they child has turned 3 years old most have got all 20 milk teeth.
The mucous membrane covering the gums becomes red and swollen where the tooth erupts. After 1 to 2 days the tip of the white tooth will appear and the rest will quickly follow. The child is bothered a few days before and after the eruption of the tooth. The red and swollen mucous membrane bothers the child. The child rubs the gums with its fingers and bites its toys. At the same time the child will salivate more than usual. Practically all children become irritable, salivate and bite while teething.
Some children are bothered by loose faeces, have trouble sleeping or lack appetite. The temperature can rise up to 38.5ºC – but never above 38.5ºC. The rise in temperature only lasts 1-2 days, so there is a connection between teething and a light rise in temperature. If the child’s temperature is higher than 38.5ºC or if the rise in temperature lasts for more than 2 days it is not caused by teething but by the child suffering from an infection.