Many parents notice that their child develops a rash right around the time that they start teething. Is this rash directly caused by teething? How do you treat teething rash? The first step is to understand how and why teething rash appears, then we'll walk you through when teething typically occurs, and what you can do to treat the associated rash.
Teething Rashes: Symptoms and Treatment for Your Baby
Does teething actually cause a rash to develop? Directly, no. Indirectly, yes.
Your baby’s rash isn’t directly caused by teething itself but from excess saliva leaking out of their mouth from increased chewing or irritated gums. This occurs because your child’s spit is full of tiny pieces of food that can irritate their skin. According to BMC Oral Health, 92% of children experience drooling when teething.
Symptoms of teething rash may cause your child to be:
- Red around their mouth, lips, chin, face, or any area contacted by drool or wet clothes
- Sensitive to touch
- Difficult to soothe when crying
Teething occurs when your child’s primary (baby) teeth begin to come in, typically at around six months old and continuing until about two to three years of age. Your child’s salivary glands will become active before this, according to Benioff Children’s Hospital. What this means for your parenting is that you shouldn’t assume your child is teething just because they’re producing saliva or have a related rash.
Other symptoms of teething may include:
- Enhanced saliva production and drooling
- Increased desire to chew or bite objects
- Irritation or pain to the gums
Teething doesn’t cause diaper rash, fever (talk to your medical professional if your child has a temperature above 101 Fahrenheit), excessive crying, diarrhea, or a stuffy nose. Be sure to take these symptoms as seriously as you would at any other time and reach out to your pediatrician for their expert insight.
Helpful tip: If you need help navigating the challenges that come with your child teething, it's a good idea to consult a pediatric dental professional.
Fortunately, rashes that occur from excess drool during teething typically go away on their own. You can find a laundry list of teething rash remedies online, but it’s wise to avoid those not recommended by trustworthy sources or your pediatrician.
If your child’s rash doesn’t resolve quickly or they have other concerning symptoms, be sure to call your pediatrician to see if it’s necessary to schedule an appointment. Doctors can recommend prescription and over-the-counter medications and ointments to relieve rashes and other symptoms. It’s important to contact your pediatrician if your child’s rash has dark purple or red spots or is “swollen, wet, crusting, blistery, or oozy.”
Luckily, caring for your child’s rash related to teething is straightforward. You can prevent it from worsening and reoccurring in the future at the same time by limiting irritation to their skin from moisture, abrasion, and products that dry it out.
Steps to prevent or treat teething rash may include:
- Use a soft cloth to wipe away drool from around your child’s mouth, chin, face, and lips as soon as possible.
- Ensure that your child’s clothing is dry. Wet clothing (especially from drool) can irritate their skin.
- Apply petroleum jelly-like cream around their affected areas as a protective barrier between their saliva and skin.
- Use a bib to catch falling drool before it wets their clothes (and as a handy way to clean around their mouth quickly!)
- Use products to clean and treat your child’s rash that will not further irritate the skin, like mild soaps for sensitive skin.
- Avoid excessive cleaning or scrubbing of the affected area as not to aggravate the rash further.
An important takeaway is that teething doesn't directly cause a rash, but the resulting drool does. Be sure to keep your child's skin and clothing dry to avoid further irritation to affected areas, and their rash should clear up on its own. Remember that your pediatrician is an important resource for any questions or concerns; you've done a great job informing yourself on teething rash and how to avoid it.
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.