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Friday, January 28, 2022

Teething and Fever—What’s the Connection?

Teething and Fever—What’s the Connection?

While babies usually cut their first teeth at between four and seven months of ages, some children do not get their first teeth until their first birthday or later. Crankiness, drooling and fever have long been considered traditional signs that a child is teething. But is fever connected to teething?

Recently, researchers observed a group of infants aged five to fifteen months, recording the babies’ body temperature and symptoms during the period when children typically get their baby teeth. They tracked such classic signs of teething as fever, sleep disturbance, rash, irritability, drooling, diarrhea, runny nose and loss of appetite during four time periods: the day a tooth erupted, the day before a tooth erupted, the day after a tooth erupted and all other days.

Surprisingly, on the day a tooth erupted, the children’s temperatures rose by only a few tenths of a degree. Other symptoms, including irritability, drooling, diarrhea and runny nose, appeared the day the tooth erupted but not before, meaning that it was impossible to predict when a new tooth would emerge just by reading the so-called signs.

“I've seen a lot of parents that will come in with children with fevers of 101 degrees or higher, and first thing they say is, ‘It might just be teething,’” noted Dr. Roya Samuels, a pediatrician at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York. “Teething has never been proven to be related to high-grade temperatures.”

Some babies feel the pain of teething intensely while others seem to shrug it off. To alleviate crankiness, you can give your baby a chilled (not frozen) rubber teething ring or let her chew on a clean, wet washcloth that has been cooled in the freezer for thirty minutes. If your child is having great difficulty sleeping, your pediatrician may recommend giving her acetaminophen.

An infant’s fever should not be shrugged off as “just teething.” Any fever over 100.4 degrees should be checked out by the baby’s pediatrician. It may be related to another condition and should be treated accordingly.

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