Do Toddlers Bite Their Tongue When Teething?

By Amber Keefer
Cutting molars can make your toddler cranky and irritable.
Cutting molars can make your toddler cranky and irritable.

Don’t be surprised if your toddler suffers miserable teething pain even after her first birthday passes. While biting isn’t unusual for a toddler who is teething, cutting her molars is a lot harder than cutting those first front incisors. Despite all the different symptoms she can suffer, don't let it get you down. Welcome relief will eventually come to you both.


Having new teeth cutting through his gums may give your toddler the urge to bite down on something to help relieve the soreness he feels. Some kids bite their own tongues while others turn to biting whatever or whomever is handy at the time. If your toddler is inclined to sink his teeth into you or anyone else, firmly tell him “no.” The same advice goes if he bites while breastfeeding. Tell him no and then stop feeding him. It won't be long before he makes the connection between the two. You can also try giving him a cool teething toy to chomp on before and after you feed him.

Teething Symptoms

About 10 percent of toddlers bite, reports PKIDs, Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases. While the reasons kids bite differ, a sure sign that your toddler may be cutting more teeth is when she gnaws on everything in sight. Suddenly turning into Miss Cranky, refusing to eat and keeping everyone in the household awake at nights are other telltale signs. Your tot may pull on her ears if the pain from new molars pushing up under her gums travels up to her ears. If her little face is drenched in buckets full of drool, it isn't unusual for her chin and cheeks to get irritated, as well.

Relieving Discomfort

Rub your toddlers gums gently with your fingers to help ease teething pain. It goes without saying that you need to wash your hands first. You can also give him a chilled teething toy to chew on. When teething is giving your little guy a really rough time, he might not be in the mood for eating. If nothing else seems to work, give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen, suggests the Ask Dr. Sears website. Either is an effective pain reliever that acts fast. If your toddler is running a fever and suffers additional symptoms along with pulling on his ears, he could have an ear infection. That's when it's time to call your pediatrician.

What Not to Do

As much as you want to make it better for your little one, be careful how you treat teething pain. Resist the urge to give your tot a teething biscuit, as most are high in sugar. Instead of helping her cut healthy molars, you could be setting her up for tooth decay. If your little princess is really out of sorts and you’re tempted to use teething medications that you rub directly on her gums, think twice before doing so. These types of medications usually contain a local anesthetic to ease teething pain. The problem is they also numb your toddler’s mouth, which can cause her to bite her tongue or even choke when she’s eating. These anesthetic-containing medications can also cause methemoglobinemia, a rare blood disorder.

About the Author

Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.