Is it Teething or is it Trouble?

symptoms of teething

Teething can be a tough time for you and your little one. The symptoms of teething are easy to recognise and knowing what to look out for can help you to better soothe your baby’s woes. Equally, it is important to know what symptoms could indicate something more troubling than just teething. For 150 years Ashton & Parsons has been used to help mums to relieve the symptoms of teething. We’ve put together this handy guide to make spotting the difference between teething and trouble a little bit easier:


1) Gnawing at objects and fingers:

If your baby suddenly starts to bite, chew and gnaw on solid objects or their fingers, it’s very likely that a tooth is about to break through their little gums. Chewing helps to relieve the pain of cutting the new tooth.

Could this be trouble?

No, although mouthing at objects isn’t necessarily related to teething. Until your little one is about seven months old they won’t be able to use their hands to discover objects – so they will use their lips, tongues, mouths and gums instead.


2) Loss of appetite:

Sore gums can make feeding tough! During teething your little one might seem to be less hungry than usual or reject their feed. In some cases, the bottle or nipple may cause discomfort when feeding a teething child. If this appears to be the case, you may want to try a differently shaped teat or feed from an open cup.

Could this be trouble?

Yes, so continue to monitor your baby’s appetite. If the loss of appetite is related to teething, it will be short lived and fluctuate with the discomfort. However, if your little one’s loss of appetite continues for a couple of weeks or is accompanied by a fever, rash, diarrhea or constipation you should call your doctor.


3) Pulling or rubbing ears:

It’s fairly common for babies to pull or rub their little ears during teething. The heat from their gums can sometimes reach their ears and this new sensation can be uncomfortable.

Could this be trouble?

Yes, ear pulling could also indicate an ear infection. If this is the case your little one will probably also show some cold symptoms and will seem to be in more discomfort when lying down. Watch out for a raised temperature and/ or redness of any part of the ear and check with your doctor, health visitor or local pharmacist if you aren’t sure.


4) A raised temperature:

During teething you might see your child’s temperature rise slightly. A temperature of anything up to 38°C is a normal symptom.

Could this be trouble?

Yes, a temperature over 38°c is indicative of a fever. If this is the case, we recommend you speak to a doctor immediately.


5) Sore or red gums:

This is one of the tell-tale signs of teething and is caused by new teeth trying to break through their little gums.

Could this be trouble?

Yes, although sore gums are one of the most common symptoms of teething and will subside once the tooth has come through. It is possible that your little one may have Gingivostomatitis, which is a viral infection common in children indicated by not only soreness but also visible sores on the mouth and gums. This is a viral infection and will run its course in matter of weeks but it’s important to make sure your baby gets enough fluids despite any discomfort this may cause. While gum disease is much less common in children than adults it is another possible cause of soreness of the gum.


6) Restlessness or irritability:

The pain and discomfort caused by teething will probably cause some change in the behavior of your little one. Irritable or cranky behavior is normal until the tooth is cut. This is one of the hardest symptoms to deal with as a new mother – so remember that lots of play and cuddles will help the both of you to feel better.

Could this be trouble?

Yes, while your baby’s restlessness and irritable behaviour is likely caused by teething it can also be indicative of a number of common childhood illnesses including ear infections, colds, flu and stomach pain. It is also possible that your baby has colic, causing them to cry periods of three or more hours at a time, although this usually occurs in children 2-3 weeks old and peaks at around 6 weeks.


7) Problems Sleeping:

The restlessness and irritability that teething causes your child during the day will often translate to trouble sleeping at night. If you suspect that teething is keeping your child awake you could try one of the soothing methods suggested here.

Could this be trouble?

Probably not but it may also be a coincidence that your little one develops problems sleeping around the same time that they begin teething. Often children at this early stage of their development will learn to roll or sit up and, if practiced at night, they may not be able to work out how to lie down again. Also, check out the helpful information at The Wonder Weeks as the symptoms you are seeing may relate to the development leaps identified here.


8) One or both cheeks is red or flushed:

The irritation caused by little teething breaking through your baby’s gums can result in red or flushed patches on one or both or their cheeks.

Could this be trouble?

No, but it is also possible that your little one has red cheeks because of slapped cheek syndrome. This is a harmless and very common childhood illness caused by a virus. Symptoms include visibly red cheeks, fever, flu-like symptoms, headaches, tiredness and a rash. Unlike the flushed cheeks caused by teething, slapped cheek syndrome can spread across the body.


9) Drooling more than usual:

While your little one is teething, they will probably drool more heavily than usual.

Could this be trouble?

Yes, but only if left to cause irritation. The increased drooling can cause an uncomfortable rash on your babies chin and around their mouth. Use a clean cloth to dry their chin and consider applying a baby-safe moisturiser to help soothe the irritation. You could also consider using a baby friendly bib such as those made specifically for teething by Cheeky Chompers.


If you’re ever unsure, check with your doctor, health visitor or local pharmacist

Teething can be tough but is rarely more trouble for you and your little one than a bit of discomfort or irritability. However, if you feel that the symptoms suggest something more serious, the best course of action is always to speak to a health professional.

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For many babies, teething is tough. As new teeth push up and start to emerge, little gums become swollen and tender.

Sometimes you can see or feel the swelling of a new tooth bud. Other teething signs to look for include:

Ashton & Parsons Infants’ Powders contains tincture of Matricaria, which is extracted from German Chamomile flower heads. Tincture of Matricaria has traditionally been used in Ashton & Parsons Infants’ Powders to relieve the symptoms associated with teething pain such as sore and tender gums, flushed cheeks and dribbling.

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