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Teething and Fever

While your baby’s first tooth is certainly adorable, teething can be tedious for parents. There will be lots of crying, face rashes, drooling, gum irritation, and night waking. But do these symptoms point to a fever? Here are what parents need to know.

Does teething cause fever?

Teething starts around 4 to 6 months, which continues every so often until age 2 or 3. It is pretty common that babies may experience a slight temperature increase whenever they are teething. This temperature change might be due to gum inflammation as your baby’s first chompers cut through sensitive gum tissues.

In a study, researchers found the development of primary teeth is linked to an increase in temperature1, but it is not marked as fever.

Parents need to note this because if a baby develops an actual fever thinking that the culprit is teething may lead parents or doctors to miss a possible illness that needs urgent treatment.

How to tell if your baby is teething or sick?

All types of fever require immediate attention, so it is vital to examine your baby’s symptoms. Here is how to know if a temperature rise means teething or an illness.

  • A teething fever is typically less than 38 degrees Celsius
  • Inflamed gums
  • Drooling
  • Biting and chewing anything within reach
  • Mouth rash
  • Rubbing around their ears, cheeks, and mouth
  • Temporarily low appetite

These teething symptoms usually occur more during the growth of a baby’s primary incisors between 5 and 15 months of age and reduce as the infant gets older.

Do not panic if your baby starts experiencing teething fever. The fever will start about a day before the tooth cuts through the gums and goes away after it erupts.

Signs of illness in babies

It is common for babies to fall ill during teething—partly because open wounds in the gums make them more susceptible to infection. The following symptoms may show that your baby has an actual fever and it is best to visit your doctor.

  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Unexplained body rash
  • Diaper rash
  • Unusual drowsiness
  • Excessive crying

 

Teething symptoms and sickness are somewhat hard to differentiate. Your child can also be sick and teething at the same time. Always visit the pediatrician if you are not sure.

Reference:

1) Carla Massignan, Mariane Cardoso, André Luís Porporatti, et al. Signs and Symptoms of Primary Tooth Eruption: A Meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 2016, peds.2015-3501.

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