Your baby has reddened gums, drools a lot, is constantly chewing on something. The cheeks are red, the forehead is warm. A fever during teething is quite normal, that’s for sure. You think. Pediatricians are now sure that fever for children is not related to the teeth, but basically indicates an infection.
If the baby also has diarrhea, you can be sure: It is not due to the teeth. Nevertheless, when teeth erupt, children are more susceptible and fever often. But why is that?
fever when teething? If the baby’s teeth come through, it can be uncomfortable for the parents
Teething is as uncomfortable for your baby as it is for you. Your child is restless, whiny, cries a lot – if the first teeth come through between six months and a year, that is the normal state. Because the teeth press in the jaw, the gums hurt, the mucous membrane in the mouth just feels stupid.
Of course, your baby doesn’t yet understand exactly what’s going on. The mouth is just painful right now and that needs to be made known. Scientists from the University of Santa Catarina in Brazil looked at data in a meta-analysis.
Ten large studies were compared, all dealing with teething in babies. The scientists could not find any evidence of fever during teething. However, the breakthrough of the first teeth (usually the incisors) is always accompanied by irritated gums.
There is also small bleeding in the mouth, your child suffers from increased salivation. The body temperature rises slightly, but it remains at a maximum of 38° C. This is not yet a fever .
Symptoms are more severe when the front teeth erupt
The baby’s teeth are already in place in the jaw before birth. Both the milk teeth and the permanent teeth. Exactly when your baby’s teeth start to grow and finally break through the gums varies from person to person.
The time of the first tooth also has nothing to do with the intensity of the symptoms. However, the front teeth, i.e. the incisors and canines, seem to cause more problems for your child than the molars. And indeed, many parents find that the baby’s new teeth are often associated with infections.
However, the scientists in Brazil also found that the fever associated with teething is not actually caused by the teeth, but by the infection, which is usually caused by viruses.
This can be diarrhea in the baby, but it can also affect the respiratory tract. Some viruses can cause both colds and diarrhea in babies, possibly even both at the same time.
Changed life situation from about 6 months with the baby
If your baby’s molars break through later, your child will probably take it quite lightly. The children no longer have a fever, but they are sometimes in a bad mood and seem stressed. Infections are rare.
You can explain that with age. Babies have their first teeth around six to eight months. This is the time when nest protection begins to wear off. The child’s immune system learns to deal with common pathogens on its own.
Because you go out with your baby more frequently from this age, it comes into contact with a large number of previously unknown pathogens. The immune system learns how to deal with pathogens by fighting them – fever, mild diarrhea and a wet nose, cough and watery eyes are normal.
They are a sign that the immune system is doing its job. The immune system only needs help when the fever (during teething as well as at other times) rises to over 39° C or your child has diarrhea for several days. Diarrhea is dangerous for the baby because the small body becomes dehydrated very quickly.
At the age of twelve to sixteen months, the magic is over: your baby has built up a strong immune system of its own, it has got to know and defeated the most common pathogens. And the front teeth are there too.
If the molars grow now, there is no longer a fever during teething. The temperature can still be a little higher, but most children don’t notice much more. Incidentally, statistically speaking, body temperature is always elevated exactly one day before the visible eruption of a new tooth!
Fever is not to be expected with teething, but other symptoms are
There are a few signs that indicate your child is teething. However, not all children show these symptoms, and they are not equally pronounced in every child (and every little tooth). If your child drools a lot, constantly drooling, then it may be due to teething.
Because the new tooth presses on the mucous membrane and gums. This (like food felt in the mouth) stimulates the flow of saliva. It is possible that this increased salivation also stimulates the production of stomach acid, which increasingly reaches the lower digestive tract.
This, in turn, can lead to slightly diluted bowel movements. The skin does not like the acid in the stool and may react with reddening. If the baby’s teeth are about to erupt, then the gums are very sensitive.
Eating can be difficult, your child often wants to yank on things. He may refuse warm food and prefer to put his ice-cold fingers in his mouth. This cools the swollen and irritated gums, which are often also slightly sore or inflamed. A chilled teething ring now gives your child relief.
Feeling cranky is normal
Even without a fever when teething, most children are now very fussy. They are irritable, cry a lot, and often wake up at night. A general feeling of discomfort is normal when the baby’s teeth erupt.
The bad mood is due to the pain in the mouth, perhaps also to the badly rumbling digestive tract, which does not cope so well with too much saliva and perhaps little food. Your baby doesn’t seem happy when teething, that’s normal.
When the gums are sore and swollen, your child likes to massage them while chewing. In the past, children were given a piece of hard, stale bread to chew softly; today, chilled, nubbed teething rings provide relief.
If your baby is very cranky, always wants to be with you and needs physical contact, you can also clean your finger and let your baby chew and suck on it. But be careful: children have a lot of strength in their jaws, and your baby doesn’t want to hurt you.
Camping with children
Restless sleep is one of them
Because teething is such a tiring time for babies and they can hardly relax, they may also have trouble sleeping through the night. Many children wake up every half hour or hour, have bad dreams and are restless in their sleep. At the same time, eating habits are changed, because now you have to constantly chew and bite.
Between the ages of six and twelve months, when the baby’s first teeth come through, it also undergoes massive mental development. It gets more curious, maybe wants to taste your food.
The first complementary food in large quantities can also lead to diarrhea in the baby, because the digestive tract has to get used to the unfamiliar amounts of new food.
This is what you should know about teeth and babies
- Fever during teething is not related to teething but to infections.
- When the baby’s first teeth break through, the nest protection slowly wears off. Your child becomes more susceptible to infections, and these come with a fever.
- 1/3 of all babies show no symptoms when their teeth erupt, 2/3 of the children have an elevated temperature.
- A body temperature of up to 38.9°C is referred to as an elevated temperature. If the body temperature rises above this, it is fever.
- Teeth do not cause diarrhea in babies. If your child has diarrhea, it can be due to an infection or an allergy. A pediatrician should look at this.
- If your baby has an increased body temperature of up to 38.5° C, you don’t have to do anything. Only then should you ask a pediatrician for advice and, if necessary, reduce the fever. Make sure your baby drinks enough!
- When teething, the baby is obsessed with putting everything in its mouth and biting on it. Not everything is clean – digestive tract infections can now occur very easily. Help your baby and offer him a disinfected teether. If the bottom is sore because your baby has diarrhea, you can treat the skin with lanolin.
You can support the baby during teething: tips on how to help your baby
How can you make the time of teething easier for your baby? Teething makes babies want to chew. You can support that. In the past, the first erupting tooth was the sign that the children no longer had to be fed exclusively with mother’s milk, but were also allowed to carefully try the first “solid” food.
Today the tendency is to feed the first pap at the age of four months. Why actually? If your child is teething and wants to chew and bite a lot, it can be given well-tolerated and unseasoned foods from adults.
Watch your child so that you can help immediately if they choke and cough. Your child can eat soft-boiled pasta and potatoes (unseasoned and unsalted) as well as bread baked without additives.
If your child likes to bite on hard things, you can leave the bread for a few days and let it harden. However, you should not give your child foods such as carrots or apples that break off pieces when you bite them. Your baby could choke on it.
Many children now also like teething rings that have been lying in the fridge. This is a bit stressful because the ring quickly warms up again and your baby will probably ask for another, cooled ring – but the cold massage on the gums is good for the child.
The most important thing is your proximity
Be there for your baby during this difficult time. Your child needs you now. You can’t take the pain away from him, but your baby will feel more comfortable if he’s allowed to have physical contact with you. A sling or a comfort carrier is helpful now.
You should take diarrhea in babies seriously: always make sure you drink enough. If the buttocks are sore, your baby is welcome to kick around for half an hour without a nappy on a towel in the warm apartment while changing.
Because without a diaper, the skin can dry in the air and then heal better. Healing wool in the diaper and lanolin help protect the skin from the harsh urine and aggressive stool.
If the skin doesn’t want to heal, you can dab your baby with cool black tea instead of a wet wipe when changing the diaper. The tannins in green and black tea help the skin become more resilient and allow it to heal.
If the baby’s diarrhea persists or if your child does not want to drink, you should consult a pediatrician. Elevated temperature doesn’t need treatment, but a teething fever is a reason to see your pediatrician. This is especially the case when the fever associated with teething is accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea in the baby, a cough or a runny nose.
The eruption of the first teeth is an uncomfortable time for your baby. Therefore it is stressed, sleeps badly and seeks your closeness. One day before the tooth erupts, your baby’s body temperature will be slightly higher – but it will not have a fever when teething.
If your baby has a fever or diarrhea, it is suffering from an infection. Then you should see your pediatrician.