Teething is a natural developmental process that all infants go through, typically starting around six months of age. While teething can cause discomfort and irritability in babies, there is a common misconception that it can also lead to a teething fever. In this article, we will explore the relationship between teething and fever, debunking the myth and providing guidance for parents.
Teething is the process in which an infant’s first set of teeth, called deciduous or baby teeth, erupt through the gums. This can be a trying time for both babies and parents, as it often leads to symptoms such as drooling, irritability, and sore gums. Some parents have reported their babies having a fever during this period, but it’s important to clarify that teething itself does not cause a fever.
Debunking the Myth
Teething does not directly cause a rise in body temperature, which is typically what we associate with a fever. While it’s not unusual for babies to experience mild discomfort and irritability during teething, symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, and severe illness are not caused by teething itself.
In fact, what some parents perceive as a “teething fever” is more likely a result of other factors coinciding with the teething process. During the teething period, babies often put various objects, including their hands and fingers, into their mouths. This behavior can expose them to viruses and bacteria, increasing the risk of infection. These infections, not teething, can lead to fever.
Common Teething Symptoms
Teething can cause various mild and temporary symptoms, such as:
- Gum Irritation: Babies may have swollen, red, and tender gums as the teeth erupt.
- Drooling: Excessive drooling is common during teething and can sometimes lead to a rash on the chin and neck.
- Irritability: Discomfort and soreness in the gums can make babies fussier than usual.
- Chewing and Biting: Babies often seek relief by chewing on objects and biting their fingers or toys.
- Changes in Eating Habits: Some babies may temporarily change their eating habits, but this doesn’t typically result in a fever.
When to Consult a Doctor
While teething itself doesn’t cause fever, it’s important for parents to know when to consult a doctor:
- High Fever: If your baby has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, it’s not related to teething, and you should contact a healthcare professional.
- Severe Symptoms: If your baby exhibits severe symptoms like persistent diarrhea, vomiting, excessive lethargy, or refusal to eat, it may be due to an illness, not teething.
- Symptoms That Persist: If teething symptoms persist for an extended period without improvement, it could indicate an underlying issue.
Teething is a normal part of an infant’s development and can be challenging for both babies and parents. While teething can cause mild discomfort and various symptoms, it does not cause a true fever. If your baby experiences a high fever or severe symptoms, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional to rule out other illnesses. Understanding the difference between teething symptoms and more serious health issues ensures that your baby receives the appropriate care and attention during this developmental phase.