Teething can be a long, challenging phase in a baby’s growth, but every baby is different.
If you’re wondering what age your baby will start to use a teether, and what to expect when they’re teething, let’s explore more about this phase of child development.
At What Age Do Babies Use Teethers
What is Teething?
Teething is the time when a baby’s first teeth begin to emerge through their gums. Teeth typically emerge in pairs, starting with the lower central incisors.
While it may look as though the teeth are cutting through the gums, the baby’s body naturally produces hormones that allow some of the cells in the gums to die, creating room for the new teeth to emerge.
What Age Do Babies Use Teethers?
Most babies get their first teeth at about six months old, although teething can begin as early as three months.
However, not every baby needs a teether when they are teething. Babies have different degrees of pain during teething, and different pain tolerances.
Also, even when babies are experiencing pain in the mouth from teething, not all babies respond well to teethers and want to use them.
So even if your baby is the right age, and teeth are beginning to emerge, they may not want or need to use a teether or teething toys.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Teething?
It can be extremely difficult to determine how a baby feels and why. Here are some of the physical changes that babies experience during teething:
Pain or Swelling in the Gums
As the teeth grow and emerge, they can cause minor swelling and inflammation in the gums, which can be painful. Swelling usually begins 3-5 days before the tooth emerges, and then subsides immediately.
Most babies have a rise in temperature during teething, up to about 100°F, but not to the point of fever.
This pain and soreness in the mouth, along with a rise in body temperature, can cause babies to exhibit a wide range of behaviors, including:
- Crankiness or fussiness
- Drooling or dribbling
- Increased chewing
- Reluctance to eat or drink
- Pulling on their ears
Some babies display these signs in different degrees, while some babies aren’t bothered by teething at all.
If a baby consistently doesn’t want to eat or drink and is fussy and sleepless, it’s always a good idea to visit your pediatrician to make sure it’s nothing more serious than teething.
If a baby under 3 months old has a temperature higher than 100.4°F, or an older baby has a temperature higher than 102.2°F, always call the doctor.
What do Teethers Do?
The act of chewing or rubbing on the gums helps to reduce pain and may help new teeth to emerge. Many babies instinctively start chewing during teething, and many moms instinctively rub on a baby’s gums to help them during this time.
Teethers are baby toys that are designed to be chewed on, giving babies a safe object for their mouth while they are feeling the pain from teething.
Teethers may also help simply distract a baby from the sensations in their mouth, and keep them busy with something else.
Babies can be rough on teasers, so look for sturdy teethers made of silicone, rubber, or wood. Many of them have textures for increased sensation or are filled with gels that can be frozen.
Cold objects against the gums can help to reduce pain and inflammation, so many babies and moms prefer teethers that are easily chilled or frozen.
Make sure that your teethers are made of non-toxic materials, and wash and sterilize them often because they spend so much time in the baby’s hands and mouth.
When Do Babies Stop Using Teethers?
Baby teeth usually emerge with the incisors at 6 months, all the way up to the molars at 2-3 years of age. However, babies usually don’t use teethers for the entire length of time.
As babies transition to more solid foods, these foods may help to satisfy some of their desire to chew, and babies get more accustomed to the sensation of teething, so it is less troubling.
Every baby uses teethers in their unique way, and some babies don’t use teethers at all. Most babies use them from about 6-12 months of age, but there is a wide range of individual variation.
Teethers can help provide relief and distraction from the discomfort of teething and keep a baby’s busy mouth safely occupied during these crucial months.
Choose a safe, sturdy, non-toxic, easy-to-clean teether, and help your baby through this challenging time.