Teething Glossary

Here is a list of explanations about the medical terms used or are relevant to this guide.

Areola - The dark coloured circle around a woman's nipple.

Baby teeth - A baby's first set of teeth. Also known as milk teeth.

Blister - A small swelling on the surface of the skin that contains fluid. It is caused by friction or a skin rash. Another type of blister is a blood blister: this occurs when the skin is pinched tightly or bruised.

Calpol - A popular brand of medicine for children that contains paracetamol. It is used to treat a variety of illnesses such as coughs and colds as well as teething.

Canines - The name given to the long, tapered teeth (similar to fangs) which are located next to the incisors (front teeth).

Cheek - An area of the face which lies in between the eyes, nose and left or right ear.

Colic - A condition in which a baby engages in bouts of crying for no apparent reason. The baby will clench their fists or draw up their legs whilst they do so. Colic can be caused by trapped wind or a food intolerance.

Congenital problem - A medical condition which has occurred during pregnancy or has developed at birth.

Developmental stages- Often known as 'milestones': these are a series of important physical, psychological and social markers which are acquired during childhood. Teething is one of these milestones.

Diarrhoea - A symptom of a stomach upset or other gastrointestinal illness. It is characterised by watery, bowel motions which are frequent and sometimes explosive.

Eczema - A common skin condition which causes dry, flaky, itchy skin.

Fever - This is when the body temperature rises above 37C (normal body temperature). A rise in temperature is a sign of an illness or infection.

Grasping reflex - A natural response seen in babies when they grip or grasp an object.

Health visitor - A highly trained, qualified nurse who carries out home visits to new mothers.

Ibuprofen - A popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is used to treat pain and inflammation. Brand names include Nurofen and Calprofen.

Incisors - The first type of teeth to appear during teething. These teeth are situated in the front of the upper and lower jaw and are used to rip and tear food.

Lactose intolerance - A condition in which a baby is unable to digest lactose " a natural sugar contained in milk. This occurs due to the lack of an enzyme called lactase which is produced within the small intestine that helps to break down lactose.

This causes symptoms such as bloating, wind and diarrhoea.

Milk teeth - Also known as baby teeth: these are the first teeth that a baby gets which break through the gums. This process is known as teething.

Molars - The last of the milk teeth to emerge during teething. These are large, chunky teeth which reside at the rear of the mouth.

Neck righting reflex - A physical reaction whereby a baby is able to turn her shoulders and body in the same direction as her head is turned.

Primary teeth - The first set of teeth: these are also known as milk teeth or baby teeth. The first tooth usually appears at the age of 6 months and the last by the age of 2 to 3 years old. There are 20 primary teeth in total. These teeth fall out at the age of 6 and are replaced by permanent teeth.

Primitive reflexes - The name used to describe a range of automatic, involuntary actions. These disappear in the first weeks following birth.

Rash - A type of skin eruption which consists of small, red swellings or spots which are sore or itchy.

Solids - This refers to the switch from liquids such as milk to solid food. A baby changes to solids at the age of 6 months.

Teething - This is a natural stage in a baby's life in which the first set of teeth (milk teeth) break through the gums. This process is characterised by a range of symptoms such as pain, dribbling, slight fever and chewing.

Virus - An organism which invades the body and once there, finds a host cell in order to multiply. This replication causes the virus to spread throughout the body leading to disease or infection.

Weaning - The process in which a baby is gradually introduced to solids and other foods. The aim is for the baby to become less reliant on breast milk or formula and to consume solid foods instead.