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Can Teething Cause Vomiting?

Being a parent is a challenge for many reasons, chief among them being the difficulty in discerning the difference between normal and what’s cause for concern. What symptoms come along with teething? Do babies vomit when teething? Keep reading for a helpful overview of what’s normal with teething, when vomiting is concerning, and when to call your doctor.

What to Expect in Teething

Your child’s first teeth will break (also known as erupting) through the gums at around six months of age. Typically, the first teeth to come in are two bottom front teeth, followed by four top front teeth. This is generally followed by pairs of teeth coming in together on opposing sides of your child’s mouth until all their primary teeth (20 in total!) are present.

Every six months, your child should have around 4 teeth coming in, a process that will continue until they’re about two to three years old.

Signals that your child is teething include:

  • Fussiness
  • Low appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Swollen or red gums
  • Increased focus on chewing or biting objects (or people!)

These symptoms should reduce or disappear after the tooth erupts through your child’s gums, which usually takes a couple of days.

Indications that you should call your doctor include:

  • Diarrhea
  • High levels of mucous in the nose
  • A fever of 101 Fahrenheit or greater
  • Unusual levels of crying, unable to be calmed
  • Normal signs of teething last for weeks rather than days

Teething and Vomiting

Vomiting is a symptom of an underlying condition, rather than being a condition itself. This reflex indicates your child’s body is responding to some condition, pathogen, contaminant, or stimuli.

It’s important to remember that vomiting is different than spitting up in infants. According to the Mayo Clinic, vomiting is “forceful” and occurs when the stomach contents spit out inches instead of leaking from your child’s mouth. On the other hand, spitting up is when their stomach contents dribble from their mouth, sometimes along with a burp.

So, can teething cause vomiting? According to the Cleveland Clinic, spitting up and acid reflux are the most common causes of vomiting in infants. There is currently not good evidence to show that teething directly causes vomiting, though it may occur during the same period, as your child will go through the teething process many times.

The big question on many parents’ minds: when should you call your doctor? Vomiting is concerning if it lasts for more than a brief episode or cooccurs with other symptoms.

Symptoms to watch out for with your infant vomiting may include:

  • Vomit is green in color
  • Projectile vomiting
  • Decreased urination (dry diapers for over 6 hours)
  • Fever of 101 Fahrenheit for over 3 days (or of 102 Fahrenheit or greater for any period)
  • Dehydration as indicated by no tears when crying, dry mouth, cold extremities, or an unusual lack of energy

Helpful tip: Be sure to call your pediatrician if your child has concerning symptoms, even if they fall outside of this list. They’re experts in your child’s health and can educate you on exact causes for concern and symptoms to watch out for!

Teething Relief

As your baby is teething, it’s a good opportunity to focus on their oral health and dental routine to reduce the chance of problems in the future and set yourself up for success.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, some teething remedies are safe for your infant, and some are not recommended. You should avoid topicals containing lidocaine and benzocaine, skip out on herbal products, and check with your pediatrician about using acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Recommended teething relief options include:

  • Cold food: Refrigerated items like applesauce, yogurt, and cold fruit (if they’re old enough for solids)
  • Frozen cloth: Wet and chill a cloth in the refrigerator for under 30 minutes and your child will find relief chewing on it. If you freeze it, thaw it before giving it to your child so it can soften.
  • Rings and toys: These can be refrigerated to provide relief, though you should avoid freezing ones with gel, rubber, or other sensitive materials.
  • Teething biscuits: If your child is eight to 12 months of age, it might be a great time to start using these.

Your first experience with your child teething is bound to come in handy again later because they have 20 baby teeth in total! Rest assured that the experience will only get easier each time for both you and your child. You've made a great choice to read up on teething and level up your parenting game.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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