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Is It A Teething Cough Or A Cold? Identifying The Source Of Your Baby's Cough

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

The first time you lock eyes with your baby as they wrap their hand around your finger — it's over. Forget it. You'd do absolutely anything to make sure they're happy and healthy for the rest of their life. So when they start developing a cough, and you can't figure out if it's a cold or teething, that can be disheartening. Do they need to see their pediatrician? Do they need a teething ring? Or do they just need their lovey? It's a tough call. Check out the advice below to make sure you know which road to go down during the teething phase with your little nugget.

Why Teething Causes A Cough

Your baby's first teeth will start popping out between 4 and 8 months. And it can last until their nearly 3 years old. With the teething can come the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Rashes
  • Increased biting
  • Low-grade fevers
  • Cheek rubbing
  • Ear pulling
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive saliva

That extra saliva can lead to drooling and sore skin near the mouth. However, when the saliva goes down the baby's throat instead — it can result in a teething cough.

Differences Between A Teething Cough And A Cold

During teething, babies are more susceptible to illness as their natural immunity from their mother fades away. And because of this, it's difficult for parents to know if their cough is from a cold or teething. Symptoms can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen glands
  • Fever

A runny nose, sneezing, and swollen glands can cause a cough. But if they have clear sinuses and you have a laundry basket full of extra burp cloths from their excess drooling and chewing — it probably means your baby is teething.

When To Take Your Baby To A Pediatrician

In 7-10 days, most colds will cease within babies, says the Cleveland Clinic. But if other significant symptoms arise, see your pediatrician immediately. Those symptoms include:

  • Fever in a baby less than 2 months old
  • Blue lips
  • Wheezing
  • Fast breathing or other breathing problems
  • Excessive sleeplessness and irritability
  • Ear pain
  • Cough lasting longer than 3 weeks

How To Ease Your Baby's Cough

There are a few remedies to help your baby's cough, according to the Cleveland Clinic. They include:

  • Using a humidifier in the baby's room to create moist air for soothing their irritated throat
  • Running hot water in your bathroom, turning it into a sauna, and sitting in there holding your baby.
  • Giving your baby a warm bath, but never leaving them alone
  • Applying pediatrician-approved chest rub with natural ingredients

Is it a teething cough? Or is it a cold cough? Hopefully, now you can make that call. If you're still unsure or worried about their cough or health, you should call your pediatrician to schedule an appointment. During this stage in your infant's short little life, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Just remember to wash those burp cloths — you'll never be sorry you did.

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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