Teething: Signs and Symptoms

Teething is the completely normal process of your child’s primary (baby) teeth erupting (breaking) through their gums. Your child will typically begin to teeth around six months of age, and the process should continue until they’re about two to three years old.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, you should expect four teeth to erupt every six months during this period. The first teeth to come in are typically the front teeth on the bottom and top, followed by pairs spread between opposite sides of your child’s mouth.

Teething is accompanied by some completely expected symptoms, while others should be a cause of concern. Fortunately, your pediatrician is specially trained to recognize and treat any symptoms your child might encounter.

Normal symptoms of teething may include:

  • Increased drooling
  • Reduced appetite
  • Crankiness
  • Rash
  • Swollen or red gums
  • Enhanced desire to chew or bite on objects

You should seek out the advice of your pediatrician if your child experiences unusual symptoms, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • A fever of 101 Fahrenheit or greater
  • High levels of mucous
  • Crying and is unable to be consoled
  • Refuses to drink
  • Frequent vomiting

These symptoms are cause for some more attention from your doctor, but is fever actually caused by teething? What’s the connection? We'll discuss more below.

Teething and Fevers

Fever is a defense mechanism by your child’s body to help fight bacteria, viruses, and other conditions. The high temperature makes it inhospitable for the unwanted pathogen and also mobilizes your child’s immune system.

According to researchers, the connection between your child teething and having a fever is not well understood. Even though it’s considered common knowledge by many parents that teething causes fever, the research does not support this claim (or is at best inconclusive).

Long story short? There’s no such thing as a teething fever.

Seattle Children’s notes that teething does not cause fever or make your child more at risk of illness. What explains why so many parents experience their child having a fever at the same time that they’re teething? Some of the causes of fevers also occur when your child begins to teeth, including infections, which are common between the ages of six to twelve months.

A vital thing to watch out for is that accepting teething as a cause for fever can postpone the time parents take to find care for infections in their child. By reading this article, you now understand that fever is unrelated to teething and to take fever as seriously as you would at any other time.

Fever Relief

How to break a fever with teething is the same as fever without teething. Home remedies for fever may include:

  • Offer plenty of fluids or electrolyte drink, but skip out on fruit juices.
  • Do not over-bundle your child, even if they have chills.
  • Consider using a fan to keep them cool.
  • Consult your doctor regarding over-the-counter medications.
  • Avoid cold baths and ice as these could cause shivers.

If you need more guidance on what symptoms to look out for, don’t worry – your pediatrician is specially trained to assist you and is a wealth of knowledge on all things children’s health-related. Be sure to call them or schedule an appointment if you have any questions or concerns.

Helpful tip: If you need dental-related assistance for your child, there are pediatric dentists at your disposal, ready to help.

Teething Relief

Most parents’ intuition tells that (correctly!) that not all methods that would provide relief for an adult are appropriate, safe, or effective for a child. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are some teething relief methods you should avoid and some that are safe to use.

If you have questions on what methods are safe or unsafe to use to provide relief for your child’s teething, be sure to consult your pediatrician for their expert advice.

Recommended teething relief options include:

  • Wet and chill a cloth in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes for your child to chew on, according to Healthy Children.
  • Use teething rings or try putting them in the refrigerator to cool them down (though you should avoid freezing sensitive materials like gels and rubber).
  • Try teething biscuits if your child is at least eight to twelve months of age.

Teething relief options that are not recommended or advised to use with caution include:

  • Topicals with lidocaine or benzocaine as ingredients
  • Herbal products that may cause harm and are not proven to be effective
  • Acetaminophen and ibuprofen

You're now informed of the symptoms and relief options for both teething and fever. An important takeaway is to bear in mind that the professionals say that fever is not directly caused by teething. Take a teething fever as seriously as you would any other fever, and rest assured: your pediatrician is uniquely equipped to diagnose and assist any symptom your child may exhibit.


How can I tell if my baby's symptoms might indicate something more than just teething?

A low-grade fever can occur with teething (though there is debate on whether it’s actually caused by teething itself) but if you can’t console your baby or they seem lethargic with a fever of 101 or higher, and aren’t eating, it’s probably more than teething. Consult their pediatrician. 

Are there any home remedies specifically for relieving teething fever?

Home remedies for fever include not over bundling your baby to help keep them cool. Keep them lightly dressed and consider using a fan. Make sure your baby stays hydrated with breastmilk, formula or water. Have them chew on a cool or frozen cloth. This will help relieve teething pain and cool them off. Baby acetaminophen can also reduce fever, but you should check with your doctor first. 

What teething relief methods should I be cautious about or avoid?

Pain relievers or numbing agents for gums aren’t recommended. They are washed away by saliva and those that contain lidocaine or benzocaine aren’t suitable for infants. Be cautious about herbal products such as those that contain belladonna to reduce fever, as it may also reduce oxygen levels. If using over the counter pain relievers make sure they are designed for infants and be sure to talk to your doctor first. 

How do I distinguish between teething symptoms and signs of a more serious illness in my baby?

Teething babies can be cranky and may not be themselves but watch for signs that indicate more serious illness such as a high or persistent fever, diarrhea, vomiting, body rash, listlessness, or if they are inconsolable. If your baby has any of the symptoms above, call your doctor.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 


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Take our Oral Health assessment to get the most from your oral care routine


2.3 billion

people worldwide suffer from tooth decay