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A Parent’s Guide to Teething

Baby (primary) teeth are an important part of your child’s growth and development. Children with healthy teeth chew better, learn to speak more clearly and smile with confidence. A healthy mouth doesn’t have the germs that could put a child’s health at risk.

  • Managing teeth

    Although teething is natural, it can be uncomfortable. Teething usually starts at about six months and continues off and on until your child’s about three years old (when all 20 baby teeth have appeared).

    When teething, your baby may:

    be fussy and restless

    have more saliva and drool

    have swollen gums

    When teething, you can:

    give your baby lots of love

    rub the gums with your clean finger

    give a cold, clean washcloth or a clean, solid (not liquid-filled) teething ring to chew on. Try cooling the teething rings in the fridge


give teething biscuits. They are high in sugar  and can cause tooth decay.

use teething rings filled with fluid. A hole can easily form and bacteria can enter and cause sickness. Small pieces of plastic can come apart and cause choking.

give raw vegetables or hard pieces of fruit  for teething relief for babies. They are a  choking hazard.

give numbing gels with benzocaine or lidocaine. The gels can numb the back of the throat and cause swallowing problems, choking, seizures, heart problems or death.

use teething necklaces. Any type of necklace around your baby’s neck could strangle or choke your baby.

If your baby seems uncomfortable and you’re thinking about using a teething medicine, talk to your health care provider  or call Health Link Alberta toll-free in Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).

Teething may not be causing your baby’s problem

Teething doesn't cause:




These are signs that your baby is sick, not teething. To learn more about these symptoms and when to call your health care provider, call Health Link Alberta toll-free in Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).

Beaded teething necklaces

There are a lot of teething necklaces that make health claims including the ability to decrease teething pain. Any type of necklace around your baby’s neck can cause choking and strangulation. Necklaces can catch on furniture, hooks or other objects.

Safety facts

Never put a necklace, string, ribbon or chain of any kind on a child younger than three years old.

Keep these items away from children to prevent the risk of strangulation or choking.

These recommendations are also supported by the Canadian Paediatric Society and Health Canada.

The Healthy Parents, Healthy Children resource team is a part of the larger Healthy Children and Families Team of Alberta Health Services. Visit or visit your local community/public health centre for a print copy, find them on Facebook, Healthy Parents, Healthy Children, follow on Twitter @AHS_HPHC and for questions or comments,  email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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